The Best Time to Book Cheap Flights For Thanksgiving This Year
With Thanksgiving coming up in November, many Americans are making their holiday travel plans now.
Thanksgiving is always a busy week for travel. In 2021, 53.4 million Americans were traveling at Thanksgiving – and 4.2 million of those people were traveling by plane, making it one of the busiest weeks for flying.
High demand for Thanksgiving travel leads to increases in airfare, and many travelers are dismayed to find soaring prices on plane tickets for the week of Thanksgiving.
How can you avoid paying exorbitant prices for Thanksgiving travel?
Here’s what you should know about how to save money and book cheap flights for Thanksgiving:
When to Book Your Thanksgiving Travel
According to data released by AAA, there is one particular booking window to wait for if you want to score the lowest airfare on domestic flights around Thanksgiving.
By early October, many people are booking their Thanksgiving flights, hoping to lock in a better deal than if they wait until the last minute.
But according to aggregated booking data, booking your flight 28-60 days in advance actually carries the highest price tag, with an average booking price of $543 on a round-trip flight within the U.S.
Waiting until 21-27 before your travel dates can yield slightly lower fares, with an average price of $501 on a round-trip flight.
But the sweet spot is actually 7-14 days in advance. If you wait to book your Thanksgiving travel until this window, average prices are down to $474 round-trip.
Prices spike back up again for last-minute flights, with flights booked 0-6 days in advance averaging out to $525 round-trip.
According to this data from AAA, the best time to book your Thanksgiving travel is one to two weeks in advance to score the best deals on flights.
Just don’t wait any longer than that, or the last-minute advantage goes away, and fares increase again!
The Best Days to Fly for Thanksgiving Travel
Another factor that can have an impact on Thanksgiving flight prices is the days that you are traveling.
With Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday of November every year, many people fly the day before and the day after Thanksgiving, making fares more expensive on Wednesday and Friday.
The weekends before and after Thanksgiving are also popular days for flying, so you’ll also see increased fares on those Saturdays and Sundays.
You can score the best deals by booking a flight that leaves the Monday of Thanksgiving week and returns sometime the following week to avoid the peak pricing of the busiest Thanksgiving travel days.
Of course, not everyone has that level of flexibility or time off when booking Thanksgiving flights.
Another day that’s cheap to fly is Thanksgiving day itself. If you can arrive early in the morning on Thursday or leave late Thursday night, you can often save a significant amount compared to arriving Wednesday or leaving Friday.
Saving Money on Thanksgiving Travel
With the cost of airfare up 33.4% in 2022 compared to 2021, it can be tricky to score good deals on flights.
But by booking your domestic flights 7-14 days in advance and avoiding peak travel days (the days before and after Thanksgiving and weekends), you can get the best deal possible on your upcoming Thanksgiving travel.
And if you aren’t planning to visit family or traveling domestically in the United States at Thanksgiving, you can still lock in the best deals on flights abroad at this time.
If you want to travel internationally at Thanksgiving, the best time to book your flights is by mid-October to get the best price, according to flight booking platform Hopper.
There are plenty of non-stop flights from the U.S. to sunny destinations abroad that are perfect for a Thanksgiving getaway.