When to book your holiday flights? Right now, experts say.
Online booking behemoth Orbitz says its database shows that now through Oct. 12 is the best time to book flights for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The best day to find the cheapest Christmas bookings, it says, is Sunday.
The sense that this is the magic week for holiday airfares matches the consensus among many travel pros that early October is the best time for holiday fares.
In a holiday guide, Orbitz identifies scattered days later this month and into early November when lower fares might be found. But the longer you wait, the fewer choices you’ll find.
So, book now or gamble later.
“I think that late this week is a bit late, actually,” says George Hobica of airfarewatchdog.com, a site that analyzes flight and hotel bargains. “Keep in mind that consumers should consider not just price but whether they can find seats together or flight times that are ideal, not just the ideal price. The sooner you book and look the more likely you’ll find the right seat, the right price, and the right flight times with the right connections if it’s a connecting flight.”
CheapAir.com is another booking site that has drilled down into their data for some holiday tips. Among them:
- Travel on Thanksgiving, when airports are much less congested.
- Skip Nov. 27, the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the busiest (and most miserable) travel day of the year.
- If you wait too long to book, try flying Christmas Day, usually the last flights are the last to fill up.
- Avoid traveling on Jan. 2, a popular day when high fares are rampant.