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How to Find the Best Holiday Flights

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According to CheapAir.com data, the best price window for holiday flights is between 164 and 46 days before you fly.

Because every data set is different, it's worth noting that data from travel app Hopper7 shows both airfare for both holidays is lowest between September 12 and October 20.

Holiday Travel Bonus Tip: Whatever you do, don't sit around waiting to book until next Tuesday. Google Flight data8 busts the myth that booking on a Tuesday saves money. Making your booking midweek only saves you about 1.9% compared to making your booking. And if you're buying a ticket for a busy travel time relatively close to when you'd leave, waiting until the next Tuesday may mean risking that your desired flight will sell out— or that the more affordable seats will be gone.

3. Be a Price Watcher

Plane ticket pricing fluctuates even within the prime booking window, and it's anyone's guess when to log on for the best deal — unless you have an algorithm on your side. Companies like Google, Kayak, Skyscanner, Hopper and others allow you to set up price tracking alerts. Share info on your travel plans, and you can receive a notification when prices drop or are likely at their lowest.

It can be worthwhile to keep price tracking even after you book. If the price drops, you may still be able to get in on the savings, depending on how much time has passed and the airline you're flying with. While the policies can get complicated, check out a detailed explainer from The Points Guy9 to find out how each airline handles price drops.

Holiday Travel Bonus Tip: While many travel sites that offer price tracking also sell tickets, consider going straight to the airline for your purchase. Ticket changes or other issues are often easier to manage10 through the airline itself, and you can save money in the long term by earning loyalty rewards.

You may be inclined to avoid holiday planning before you've decided on your Halloween costume, but when it comes to finding the best deal on a flight, it's prime time for booking. With the right timing and a little strategy, you can minimize your holiday travel costs now. That means by the time November and December roll around, you can focus on the holiday merriment.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Ivana Pino, "Average cost of flying in the U.S.," Bankrate, published June 13, 2023, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  2. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, "2023 U.S. Airline Traffic Data Up 7.8% from the Same Month Last Year," accessed February 6, 2024. Back
  3. James Byers, "How to find the best deal on your next flight," The Keyword, published August 31, 2022, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  4. CheapAir.com, "Holiday Cheap Flights Report 2022." accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  5. Transportation Security Administration, "TSA checkpoint travelnumbers (current year versus prior year(s)/same weekday)," accessed August 15, 2023.

  6. CheapAir.com, "When to Book Cheap Flights in 2023: The Best Timeto Buy Domestic Airline Tickets," published February 8, 2023, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  7. Hayley Berg, "2022 Holiday Travel Outlook," Hopper, published September 12, 2022, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  8. James Byers, "How to find the best deal on your next flight," The Keyword, published August 31, 2022, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  9. Jennifer Yellin, "Airlines that offer you a credit if the price of airfare drops," The Points Guy," published May 22, 2023, accessed August 15, 2023. Back
  10. Ramsey Quebin, "The Best Time to Book Flights for Holiday Travel," Condé Nast Traveler, published October 3, 2022, accessed August 15, 2023. Back