The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


How Can I Find an Inexpensive Flight for the Holidays?

Dear Jessica,

How can I find an inexpensive flight for the holidays?


Dear W.D.,

Many travelers have emailed me with similar questions, hoping I have a secret method for finding cheap flights around the holidays. Unfortunately, there’s no magic way to avoid high prices and crowded flights this year. Planes are flying fuller than in recent years, and the upcoming holiday season won’t be an exception. Fares around the holidays are always expensive, and with more travelers competing for fewer seats, finding an inexpensive flight will be tough. If you can be flexible, however, you can avoid paying the highest prices.

RELATED: What is the Cheapest Day to Book a Flight?

According to, the worst days to fly around the holidays are December 21, 22, 23, 26, 29, 30, 31, which are naturally the days you probably want to travel. An Expedia report concurs, also adding January 2 to the list. You’ll save by flying on December 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 27, 28, or January 1, 2, or 3. Of course, traveling even earlier in December or later in January will cost even less.

Besides flying on less busy dates, you may be able to avoid potential air travel hassles by strategically booking your flights. The earliest flight of the day is less likely to be delayed. In addition, it’s smart to look for connecting flights in cities less likely to be affected by winter weather delays, including destinations in the South and West such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

More from SmarterTravel

  • 10 Tips for Holiday Travel
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Booking Holiday Flights
  • Why You Should Book Your Flight Exactly 54 Days in Advance
  • Last Updated: August 17, 2015

    We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

    Top Fares From