Here we are a preparing for the peak Thanksgiving travel period to begin and if you want to get away, you still may be able to do so without paying sky-high fares.
Prices will be higher than sale fares, but you can find fares that are much more reasonable than the regular high prices charged for no-advance-purchase tickets.
People think the farther out you book your ticket, the cheaper the fare, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The standard 21-day-advance fare is often higher than sale fares.
Because the airlines want to fill seats, they are offering fares for close to the advance standard fare without the 21-day purchase restriction.
In the days right before Thanksgiving, don’t be surprised to see the standard 21-day-advance fares drop to no advance purchase needed for travel anywhere in the U.S.
We will see many sales for travel through the end of February, but they are likely to have holiday blackout dates.
You may also find a sale fare for Thanksgiving travel if you are flexible with your dates. The best bets for cheaper seats for Thanksgiving are if you can fly out today or Monday, and return Thanksgiving evening, Friday, or after Dec. 3.
The worst days to travel are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. This is when the fares are the most expensive and the planes will be packed.
The same lowering of advance purchase requirements that is happening now for Thanksgiving will happen for Christmas travel.
During Thanksgiving, there is a very short window to travel, so you have to be extremely flexible. During the Christmas holidays, though, kids will be out of school for about two weeks, offering greater flexibility than during Thanksgiving, so there is better potential for finding dates with cheaper seats.
You’ll want to work on your boss to get midweek dates off because those dates usually offer the best prices. You can still be at your destination for Christmas or New Year’s and get a cheaper airfare.
For Thanksgiving travel, the destination that may offer the lowest fares is Europe. You can depart Monday through Wednesday, and still qualify for the lowest fares. Europe travel over Christmas and New Year’s will be approximately $100 to $200 more than Thanksgiving rates.
The airlines would like to have maximum capacity during the holidays and will try to squeeze the most out of you on peak dates. If you’ve procrastinated, you can still get away without breaking the bank. If you fly between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, or start travel beginning Jan. 6 through the end of February, you can find cheaper fares almost anywhere in the U.S.