Best time to book holiday flights 2022

This year, my husband and I and our two young children will celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently – on a plane. When we initially considered booking four return flights in economy class during Thanksgiving week, to say we experienced poster shock is an understatement. So, we played with dates and chose a less traditional time to fly (i.e. the moment countless Americans are sitting at the dinner table) to get a better deal.

This tactic is among the many hacks that can help you beat the high airfares this year.

“After two years of reduced holiday travel due to the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are preparing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season once again,” travel booking site Huber stated in its 2022 Holiday Travel Outlook. “Important factors, including jet fuel prices, fewer scheduled flights, and two years of pent-up demand for holiday travel will add up this year. Thanksgiving and Christmas tickets are at their highest levels in the past five years.”

The good news is that while holiday ticket prices are at their peak in five years, travel costs are at least dropping from their summer highs of 2022. Flight prices are down 8.8 percent since last month, and hotel room rates are down about 2.3 percent. Since last month, according to Sally French, travel expert at financial advisory site NerdWallet.

“Hotels and airline tickets set record levels during the summer of 2022, but these prices are at their peak,” says the Frenchman. But she adds, “If you’re budgeting your next vacation based on your 2019 trip, understand that you’re likely to be paying a lot more now for just about every expense.”

Fortunately, there are ways you can save. Here are some expert tips on how to cut costs and the perfect time to book vacation and travel trips.

Best time to book travel vacation 2022

For both Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hopper recommends booking between now and October 20. “Prices will continue to decline until early September and then remain relatively flat until mid-October,” Hopper reports. But the more the better. With each passing day, tickets start to go up. Ideally, you should book your holiday flight by October 10th.

How to get a good deal on vacation travel

Start planning now

Anticipate the last-minute rush — and price hikes — by installing vacation travel plans as quickly as possible. Booking patterns suggest that during the pandemic, travelers are more likely to make last-minute decisions due to the uncertain travel climate. But now is the time to break this habit for those who want to save some money on flights, car rentals and hotels.

See off-peak times and times

You may not need to go as far as my family did and fly on Thanksgiving, but it pays to avoid the more common travel times. “For Thanksgiving, traveling on the Monday of Thanksgiving week and back any day of the week the following week will save you the most money,” Huber notes. (We also did the following week for our return and will be back the Wednesday after Thanksgiving for more affordable fares.) Traveling the Monday or Tuesday before the Christmas holidays and returning midweek the following week can also help you save on flights.

Create alerts and track prices

A useful way to monitor flight prices is to use price tracking tools on sites like Google Flights, Hopper, or Kayak. Use these alerts to compare flights and then lock them in when they seem at their lowest or most reasonable levels. Aircraft prices will continue to move up and down daily until early October, before rising steadily in the past two months before Christmas. Huber notes that “the next few weeks of volatile prices mean that travelers who are proactively monitoring prices will be notified of great, time-sensitive deals.”

Get to know a good deal when you see one

How do you know when to book? According to Hopper, as of mid-September, the average for what would be considered a good domestic round-trip for Thanksgiving is $350 and in the Christmas period it averages $463. So, if you find prices close to or below these, you probably won’t find anything much better. For international round-trip airfare, Thanksgiving averages $795 and Christmas averages $1,300. (So ​​maybe if you’re thinking of going somewhere outside, Thanksgiving is the best time to do it this year.)

Be open to alternative destinations (and airports)

If you are traveling to see friends or family, there is clearly not much wiggle room in the destination. But you can always look for nearby hubs that may provide more attractive flight tickets. You might see what’s on offer at Burbank, Long Beach for LAX, LaGuardia for JFK, or Oakland for San Francisco International Airport.

And if you’re planning to go on vacation somewhere other than your vacation home—maybe escaping to Mexico or the Caribbean or dreaming about the holiday markets in Europe—but haven’t made a decision, perhaps airfares help determine your final decision. A lot could be the motivation you need to finalize your plan and location, including to a place you might not have thought of before.

The most popular local destinations for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year include Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Seattle. As for international destinations, the most popular holiday destinations this year include Cancun, Dublin, Madrid, Manila and Mexico City. If you are looking to avoid crowds and high prices, you may want to look into alternatives to these popular places.

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