Lonely Planet Writer

Booking a holiday trip? One travel search engine says you can procrastinate and still save money

If you tend to procrastinate making your holiday travel plans, you may still be in luck. The travel search engine Skyscanner has announced its predictions for the holiday booking season and it is good news for procrastinators.

Striped deck chairs on pebble beach.
Striped deck chairs on pebble beach. Image by Richard Newstead/Getty Images

Based on historical data, the company says that the highest savings for American travellers booking flights are available no more than four weeks before Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Even people booking their flights the same week could save some money.

The company analysed booking and travel habits on peak travel dates in 2015 to make its predictions for this year’s holiday travel deals.

For those looking to get away on Thanksgiving – which falls this year on 24 November – October provides the best opportunity for savings. The week of 17 October offered savings of 5.10%, and the week of 31 October – less than four weeks to Thanksgiving – actually had the highest level of savings at 7.7%. People who booked absolutely last minute could still save 1.98%, according to Skyscanner.

Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach, California.
Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach, California. Image by Steve Skinner Photography/Getty Images

When it comes to planning for a Christmas holiday, it may be best to start thinking about it during the Thanksgiving break. The historical data indicates that the week of Thanksgiving (21 November) will likely have the best deals and possible savings of 6.41%. If you wait until the week of 5 December, you could still save 4.93%.

It’s also fine to wait a while before making New Year’s plans, as travellers could save about 10.57% by booking around 5 December. Even those who book one week before could save 6.72%.

“Americans left a record-breaking 658 million unused vacation days on the table last year alone, and we are committed to making travel more attainable, especially around the holidays,” said Randi Wolfson, a Skyscanner communications representative, in a statement. “We prepare this data in the hopes of helping travellers see that holiday travel is something they can budget for and plan with ease so they can spend their well-earned time off with loved ones.”