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Traveling for the holidays? Now’s the time to book

OKLAHOMA CITY – There’s no place like home for the holidays, or maybe there’s no place like the Bahamas for the holidays. Either way, you should start planning your travel now.

We are 32 days away from Thanksgiving and 65 days away from Christmas.

“The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year and now is the optimal time to look for the best flights and prices,” says Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson.  “Demand for holiday flights and seats on airlines increase with each passing day.  A word to the wise, when you find a good fare, be ready to purchase it.”

Here are a few tips:

  • October = most travelers book Thanksgiving travel; best time to book cheapest Christmas air travel
  • Monday before Thanksgiving = least expensive day to fly prior to holiday
  • Those booking Thanksgiving air travel now will typically pay less than if they booked it earlier (this summer).
  • The Tuesday and Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving are the most popular travel days, and travelers will pay the highest average price per ticket, $509 and $507 respectively.
  • Save more and miss the airport crowds by traveling on Thanksgiving Day. Fly the morning of the holiday and arrive just in time for Thanksgiving dinner for cheaper fares. The average per ticket booked has been $446.
  • Christmas travelers can save an average of $100 per ticket by booking before the end of October.

Booking holiday travel in advance has its pros and cons. Travelers who booked flights over the summer (between July 25 and September 22) likely paid a bit more, but they have the best chance of ensuring that their preferred flights are available, especially for the busy travel days around Thanksgiving.

Last year, nearly 4 million Americans took to the skies for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a 5.5 percent increase over 2016, according to AAA.

A year ago, Thanksgiving travelers flying to their destinations paid the lowest average ($157) in five years for a round-trip flight for the top 40 domestic routes.