There's no place like home when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and if you are planning your holiday season flights in the US, you'll want to make sure you get the best possible deal.

A woman greeting her friend at Christmas
Everyone wants to get the best possible deal on Christmas and Thanksgiving flights. Image: Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images

According to travel company Expedia.com, common sense says to plan ahead in order to get the best prices. The sweet spot for flights can vary, it says, with seasonality, travel dates and other factors all influencing price. Its tips include that traveling on the holiday itself often yields the cheapest rates, and to avoid starting your trip on the Saturday before the holiday as this has consistently proven to be the most expensive day to fly.

A family carving the turkey at Thanksgiving
You can get the best deals on Thanksgiving fares by choosing your booking time wisely. Image: KidStock

When it comes to Thanksgiving, it suggests that the cheapest time to buy is between 29 October and 13 November. Booking two weeks to a month in advance of travel saved travelers more than 5% in 2018 it says, while those who booked more than 91 days and less than one week out paid the most, with last-minute bookers paying more than 20% above average. For the cheapest rates, it advises starting your trip on Thanksgiving Day, as last year travelers who departed on Thanksgiving paid about $100 (€90) less than those who departed the Saturday prior to the holiday.

Friends toast at a Christmas market
Christmas is a time when people like to go home. Image: fotostorm

Those looking to book Christmas flights in 2018 got the cheapest flights between 23 November and 9 December. Booking during this window saved travelers around 15%, while last-minute bookers paid around 2% more than average. Proving that the early bird doesn't always catch the worm, those who booked over 91 days in advance paid around 15% more than the average holiday traveler. The cheapest day to fly was Christmas Eve, with travelers paying around $100 (€90) less than those who started their trip on the Saturday prior to the holiday.

A woman using her credit card to purchase online
Two travel firms have given advice on booking flights for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Image: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

But as always, there's conflicting information for anyone booking flights. According to Hipmunk, to get the lowest fares for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, the best time to buy is next week, the first week of September. It says that booking airfare the first week of September saves an average of 12% on Thanksgiving and Christmas flights. No matter when you depart, returning on Sunday has the biggest impact on Thanksgiving flight prices, it warns, increasing median flight booking prices by 32%.

People dressed as Santa Claus take part in a traditional Christmas swim
People love to go home for Christmas, which can make flights expensive. Image: Valery Hache/Getty Images

It also says that travelers can save $176 (€158) and avoid crowds by departing on Thanksgiving day and returning on Friday, and can save $300 (€270) by departing on Christmas Day and returning the day after. To see all of Hipmunk's data, including charts and graphs, check out its website here, and to check out Expedia's website, please see here.

Explore related stories

View Of Iao Needle With Stream, Blue Sky, Clouds Hawaii, Maui, 
EM79EE
Pacific, Afternoon, Ancient, Attraction, Blue, Bridge, Caldera, Cloud, Day, Distant, Flow, Green, Greenery, Hawaii, Iao, Islands, Art, Lakes, Streams, Art, Landscape, Landscape, Art, Location, Art, Lush, Mountainside, Mountain, Art, Nature, Art, Needle, Outdoor, Park, Photo, Refresh, Refreshing, River, Riverbed, Rock, Rocky, Sacred, Scenic, Art, Shadow, State, Stream, Sunshine, Trickle, Tropical, Valley, Design, Pics

Ancestry

What travelers need to know about the Lahaina Fire, water rights and Native Hawaiians

Jul 20, 2024 • 8 min read