Here Is the Best Time To Book Your Holiday Flights in 2023

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Man traveling during the holidays
ViDI Studio /

Fall has just begun, but it already is time to start thinking about holiday travel. If you plan to fly for Thanksgiving, Christmas or another year-end holiday, the best time to book your flight is now.

In a CNBC report, Hayley Berg, lead economist at booking app Hopper, says purchasing holiday flights between now and the second week of October is ideal because prices are relatively low this far in advance and a lot of seats have not yet been booked.

As Berg says in the CNBC report:

“Prices will start to rise after about Oct. 14th for both Thanksgiving and Christmas trips. Plan to book as soon as possible, as prices will rise each day as the holidays approach.”

Another way to cut the cost of holiday travel is to be careful about which specific day you choose to fly. TSA checkpoint volume shows that in 2022 and 2021, the single busiest travel day of the year was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, according to The Points Guy website.

So, avoiding travel on that day might save you cash. The Points Guy looked at this year’s prices and found that booking your return flight for the next day — the Monday after Thanksgiving — can cut your flight costs by more than 50% in some cases.

In a “Christmas in July” report, Hopper suggested booking flights for the following days:

  • Thanksgiving: Fly to your destination on the Monday of Thanksgiving week and fly home on any weekday of the following week.
  • Christmas: Try to fly to your destination no later than midweek during the week prior to Christmas Day, which falls on a Monday this year. If that doesn’t work, try Christmas Eve. (The Hopper report did not offer advice for your return flight home.)

While we all like to save cash when traveling, some folks are more concerned with avoiding delays. Few things can wreck the holiday spirit like waiting in an airport for hours on end.

If you want to avoid the hassle of a delay, consider booking a flight for very early in the day. Hopper noted that flights that depart after 8 a.m. are 50% more likely to be delayed or canceled.

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