Whether you are traveling this holiday season or have yet to book your plane ticket, you should know that there are a few tips that can help you save money on air travel. These tips below will not only help you get the best prices but will also help you avoid common travel mistakes.
Why travel may be difficult this year
If you’ve done any flying recently, you’ve probably noticed you are paying more and getting less. The price has gone up, yet there are fewer planes in the air, more bungles with luggage, an abundance of last-minute cancellations, and a prevailing sense of scrambling. Since the days around Thanksgiving are the busiest for travel, minor inconveniences can become exponentially more troublesome.
Avoid the busiest travel days.
Whether you’re flying to your holiday destination or going back home to see friends and family, it’s important to plan ahead to avoid the busiest travel days for air travel this holiday season. These days can vary from year to year, but there are a few simple things to remember to ensure you don’t get caught up in long airport lines and that you’re not paying over the odds for your tickets.
One way to avoid the busiest travel days is to leave a day early. While it may seem like a small sacrifice, it can save you money and time.
In addition to leaving a day early, you’ll also want to arrive at the airport at least two and a half hours before your domestic flights. You’ll want to arrive at least three hours in advance for international flights.
In addition to making travel arrangements in advance, you can monitor your flights for any schedule changes or delays. You can use an airline’s mobile app or website to check your flight status.
Some of the busiest travel days this holiday season are the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. If you can’t find flights on those days, consider flying on New Year’s Eve or Christmas Eve. The prices are typically the lowest, and it will be less crowded. You can also save up to 15% if you fly on Black Friday.
Another way to avoid the busiest travel days this holiday season is to book your flights two or three days before Thanksgiving or Christmas. It may cost you less and allow you to spend more time with your family.
Although Christmas airport crowds are difficult to predict, you can get a sense of the amount of traffic on certain days by checking the data from the Transportation Security Administration. The agency tracks the number of passengers screened each day.
Generally, Thanksgiving airport crowds are the largest this year. Those who travel to Thanksgiving are trying to beat the rush. However, travelers returning home from Thanksgiving may be able to find deals on flights to get home on Tuesday.
Saving on parking costs
The holidays are hectic, so airports are even more crowded than usual. If you’re flying during the holiday season, it’s important to factor in the cost of parking at the airport. One Stop Parking offers the best deals on off-site airport parking, so you can save money and avoid the hassle of finding a spot at the airport.
There are a few ways you can save on parking costs, though.
1. Check to see if your hotel offers free or discounted parking. Many do, especially if you’re staying for multiple nights.
2. Check with your airline to see if they offer any discounts on airport parking. Some airlines will offer discounts if you book parking through them in advance.
3. Look for off-site parking options. Typically, these are cheaper than on-site parking, and One Stop Parking offers the best complimentary shuttle service and long-term public parking.
4. Consider using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. This can be cheaper than parking your car, and you don’t have to worry about shuttle schedules.
5. Do some research on the pricing. It pays to shop around and compare rates before committing to any option.
6. Consider alternatives to flying. If possible, take the train or bus instead—it may be cheaper and less hassle overall.
Whether you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can save money by booking early. Airfare prices have been rising for the past couple of years and are now at their five-year peak. If you book early, you can get the best fares and prevent future price increases.
According to Hopper, a travel price tracking app, Thanksgiving airfare is still cheaper than Christmas airfare. But airfare prices are still expected to rise in the next few weeks. When booking your flight, the best thing to do is to book ahead of time (which can save you a bundle) and take your time.
You can save up to $170 per ticket if you book your flight early.
If you’re planning to travel for Christmas, you should book your flights before October 10 for the best prices. You can book by October 20 for Thanksgiving travel, too, according to Hopper. Several airlines have price lock programs, which can help you lock in your price. You can set up price alerts on booking platforms if you want to be alerted when prices drop.
Expedia’s data shows that travelers can save up to 20 percent on flights during the Christmas week. For some destinations, the best flight prices are between 23 and 59 days ahead of time.
Travelers can also save money by booking their flights early, as airports tend to fill up during the holiday season. You should only fly on weekends and Sundays if you want the cheapest flight. Several airlines offer price lock programs, which require a service charge.
You can also save money by booking your flights early, as airlines tinker with their flight schedules and aircraft types up to 90 days before departure. This means you have more time to choose the best date and time to travel. It’s also a good idea to be flexible with your dates if you want to travel during the holidays but need to know precisely when to set up price alerts so you know when prices drop.
This holiday season, don’t let the cost of air travel keep you from seeing your loved ones. There are plenty of ways to save on airfare if you know where to look. Use these tips to get the best deal on your next flight and make this holiday season one to remember.