If you’re thinking of holiday travel, the time to plan it is NOW!
If you’re an empty nester whose children always come to your home for the holidays, you are blessed. However, for most empty nesters, that is not the case. The kids go off to college and want to visit their friends during the holidays or take a trip maybe. Eventually many will marry and have to split the holidays with other families. Whatever the reason though, at one time or another your home will likely be empty during the holidays.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing! Perhaps it’s time for you to take a trip for the holidays! If that’s what you’re thinking about, you need to start planning that holiday travel right NOW!
Holiday Travel Airfares
We’ve all heard about what a nightmare air travel can be around the holidays. The nightmare usually starts with the airfares! There are several ways you can pick up a much cheaper flight though if you know a few tricks.
If you want to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving, you might still be able to find a less expensive flight if you look at the app, Hopper. Hopper will tell you whether the cost of the flight is likely to go up or down or if the best time to buy is right now. You can download the app on your phone and check it every day. You just tell the app where you’re flying from and where you want to go and it will tell you the cheapest to the most expensive days to fly.
As I’m writing this, the most expensive days to fly are 2-3 days before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If you’re flying into some airports the most expensive flights could extend even more days before and after the holiday. For example, if you fly from Denver to NYC, the most expensive flights are from November 16-21 and 24-26. If you fly from Houston to Denver, you’ll find the most expensive days are November 21 (the day before Thanksgiving) and 23-26. However, in these and in most cases, if you fly ON Thanksgiving and wait until Tuesday or Wednesday after the holiday to return home, the savings are significant! On the two routes that I mentioned the savings are $178 and $158 respectively if you fly on Thanksgiving and return on November 27! But to get these savings Hopper told me to book NOW, as in today!
Christmas holiday travel should be booked now as well but you may have a longer window to buy or not depending on the route. Using the same routes as above, all the dates around Christmas are marked as the most expensive days to fly; however, there are still differences. The Denver to NYC route will save you $266 if you fly ON Christmas and return on New Year’s Day rather than flying on the December 21 and returning December 26. Hopper says to buy now. The Houston to Denver route will save you $80 if you fly on Christmas and return December 31 rather than December 21-26. In this case, Hopper says to wait to buy and you may save as much as $26 more dollars.
General Rules For Holiday Travel
As for time of day to travel, the general rule is to travel early in the day, even the earliest flight of the day if possible since there are likely to be fewer travel delays the earlier you fly.
When choosing which holiday to do your travel, it’s a little bit of a toss-up. While the busiest, craziest time to travel is typically for Thanksgiving, it is also perhaps a little less expensive during that time. Christmas travel may a little more expensive in general depending on the route but could be a little less chaotic depending on which days you’re traveling.
Another factor in air travel is whether you can book a direct flight or if you have to make connections to get to your final destination. The general rule here is that it is always better to book a direct flight, even if it means driving to a larger city to fly out of. The reasoning here is that if you have to connect to another flight, there’s a greater chance of missing a connection and getting stuck in an airport. And that leads to the next factor.
Despite all of the above being said, there is that completely unpredictable factor in holiday travel…the WEATHER. You just have no idea what the weather is going to do when you’re booking your travel. Not only that, but the weather can change your plans if you plan to drive or travel by train as well. The weather is one factor that none of us can plan for.
The Bottom Line about Holiday Travel
To summarize, holiday travel will be less expensive if you use an app like Hopper to tell you the best time to buy airline tickets. It will be less expensive if you travel ON the ACTUAL holiday. It will likely be less expensive if you travel at Thanksgiving rather than at Christmas but it could be more chaotic since more people travel at Thanksgiving. The time to buy tickets for both holidays this year is NOW. You should travel early in the day to avoid delays and fly on a direct flight if at all possible to avoid missed connections. And finally, the one thing none of us can plan around is the weather.
The BEST thing about holiday travel as an empty nester is that we CAN MAKE CHOICES and aren’t bound by school schedules anymore! WOO-HOO! Happy Holiday Travel!
If you want some other travel tips, here are some other posts I’ve written. Enjoy!
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