Daytona Beach, FL - The best time to book holiday travel begins this week, on Wednesday, September 25, according to AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. After three years of analyzing data, he said the best time to book for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel is the window between September 25 and October 27.
"Holiday travelers should make their plans now and begin booking flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, Sept. 25 for the best deals and availability,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Knowing when to book and what days to fly can help travelers effectively manage their budget and avoid the crowd."
For Thanksgiving, most travelers get a good price by booking during the window. Procrastinators sometimes find the best price but limited availability could affect when you get to travel. Choosing the day you want to fly will affect the price you pay. Flying the Monday before Thanksgiving should give you the lowest ticket price. Flying the Sunday before Thanksgiving will likely get the highest ticket price but it's usually the lightest travel day.
Airline tickets for Tuesday or Wednesday of Thanksgiving week usually cost the most and they are the heaviest travel days. If you don't mind traveling on Thanksgiving Day, you should get a low ticket price and fewer people to contend with in the TSA line and on the airplane.
Jenkins said the best time to book Christmas travel is during the same window. He said the window opening on Wednesday through October 25 is the sweet spot with prices usually lower than more advanced bookings. You should get a good ticket price for travel booked between October 26 and November 27 but again, availability could be affected. AAA found that traveling on Christmas Eve should get you the lowest ticket price and it will be the lightest day of travel that week.
Something to consider when making your plans is travel insurance. "Travelers should strongly consider purchasing travel insurance for their holiday trip," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Winter storms can cause unexpected flight delays and cancellations, even for those who are not flying north. This can lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses on food, transportation, and hotels. Having the right travel insurance policy means you can be reimbursed for all these expenses. The price for travel protection varies based on the cost of your trip, but the peace of mind that it buys is worth every penny."