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How Can I Find an Inexpensive Flight for the Holidays?

SmarterTravel

Dear Jessica,

How can I find an inexpensive flight for the holidays?

—W.D.

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 Hotwire.com, 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.

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  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Booking Holiday Flights
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  • Last Updated: August 17, 2015

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