It's time to calculate a game plan for navigating airport terminals, securing your overhead bin space, and getting through the crush of humanity in the security line - by knowing the busiest travel days in advance.
Airfare tends to be more expensive at this time of year. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always packed with travelers. Even the best day to buy a plane ticket seems to change fairly often. Some of the predicted peak days have shifted surrounding both Thanksgiving and Christmas. You don't want to book too early or too late, but hit the bull's eye.
Booking your holiday travel plans can get expensive, and the trip itself can be stressful thanks to crowds of fellow holiday travelers. Traveling on less popular travel days means you'll also be more likely have a lower-stress airport experience.
Here are the busiest and least busiest travel dates:
Best Thanksgiving Travel Dates
Thanksgiving Day, November 28
No one wants to fly on the holiday. You may have to shift your meal time if you make Thanksgiving a travel day but you'll save the most by flying on the actual holiday. Most people prefer to be at their destination on Thanksgiving morning, but you'll usually find lower fares and emptier airports, and hopefully arrive in time for an afternoon dinner.
Passengers who departed on Thanksgiving paid an average of $100 less than those who departed the Saturday prior to the holiday, as stated by Expedia.
Monday, November 25
The Monday before Thanksgiving once again offers the next best fares. About half as many people travel on Monday compared to later in the week. "Domestic travelers should plan to depart on Thanksgiving Day or Monday, November 25 to save up to 23 percent or $77 per ticket compared to departure on peak days," said Expedia.
Tuesday, November 26
If you can't leave on the actual holiday, grab a flight on Monday or Tuesday for the next cheapest flights.
Book flights between November 7 and November 13
According to Expedia, "Booking two weeks to a month in advance of travel saved travelers more than five percent (last year)."
November 7 will be the final day in which to purchase affordable flights.
Friday, November 29
If you don't mind a shorter visit, fly home on Friday. Saturday is busier but still reasonable.
Wednesday, December 25
The cheapest round-trip trip, at $247, is leaving Christmas Day.
Worst Travel Dates
Wednesday, November 27 and Sunday, December 1
Avoid this dates after Thanksgiving to save your sanity. The sheer number of people traveling means airports and aircraft will be packed.
The Day Before and After Christmas
According to a report by AAA, nearly 112.5 million Americans hit the road or sky during the holiday season of 2018. Two days before and the day after Christmas hold steady as the top two worst travel days of the year, every year.
The amount of people causes delays in what would otherwise be 'normal' traffic and flow.
New Year's Day
New Year's day is a close third for worst travel days. Just wait until the 2nd or 3rd of January to travel back home.
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