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If an airplane ticket is all that’s standing between you and your mom’s holiday ham, get ready to snag one now—because the cheapest tickets for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are flying off the shelves.
First, the bad news: The least expensive fares might have been sold out already. The travel website Orbitz found the lowest prices for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve travel sold out between Oct. 5 – 10, CBS MoneyWatch reports.
But don’t lose hope yet. Flight information metasearch engine Skyscanner says the best time to book a Thanksgiving flight is actually the week of Oct. 31, when your potential savings exceed 7.7%. If you book your tickets next week, Skyscanner projects your savings to be around 5%.
The week of Nov. 21 is your best bet for Christmas flights, with 6.4% savings, Skyscanner revealed Tuesday. For New Year’s Eve, you could save 10.6% if you book during the week of Dec. 5, also according to Skyscanner.
Various factors go into the pricing of airline tickets, and while national travel trend watchers such as Orbitz, Skyscanner and Expedia try their best to guide your budgeting calendar, you know your needs and flexibility the best. Here are five tips from travel agents and blogs that might help you save:
- Check your credit card rewards and see if you have any discounts or points available to be redeemed.
- Shoot for slower travel days. For example, the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving are the peak traveling dates. Traveling on Thanksgiving Day instead can save you, says Orbitz senior editor Jeanenne Tornatore to CBS News.
- Explore what nearby airports might have to offer. Flying from LaGuardia Airport to Chicago on Thanksgiving Day costs $108, compared to $163 if you fly out from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
- Try booking directly with airlines. Sometimes you might get an upgrade or other bonuses, and it’s easier to change your itinerary if needed, says Travel Channel host Anthony Melchiorri to CBS News.
- Accept that you’d have to act fast. By the time you finish reading this story, prices could have already inched up.