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This Is The Best Time To Book Flights For Your Winter Getaway

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Christmas is one of the busiest seasons of the year for U.S.-based airlines. As seasoned travelers already know, this only translates to fully booked flights and jacked-up prices that’ll have you spending most of your travel budget on transportation alone. 

Though planning your winter getaway while still on a sunbed somewhere warm might be the last thing you want to do, the truth of the matter is that if you’re set on flying somewhere this winter, now is the best time to book your flight.

Woman standing in an airport

According to a report by CNN, the best time to book airfare for this upcoming Thanksgiving or Christmas is late August to early September, so make sure to move quickly!

Airlines Are Experiencing Decreased Pricing Power

As demand for both domestic and international flights surges, ticket prices have experienced a notable increase across the board. 

However, the busy summer season helped airlines expand, with many carriers, including some budget-friendly ones, introducing new routes to some of the most popular destinations (1,2,3,4).

Skyline of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Since supply has increased alongside demand this summer, airlines have lost some of their pricing power, having to lower their ticket fees to keep up with the competition. 

Since it’s hard to tell how the ever-changing trends in the market are going to affect pricing moving forward, it’s best to make the most out of this situation and book the flight of your choice now.

Ticket Prices For Winter Flights Are The Lowest Right Now

According to Investopedia, ticket prices are the lowest 21-115 days before the actual flight, which puts you in the perfect timeframe to book your winter vacation. 

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Woman with luggage booking a ticket

Moreover, making your reservations now strikes a fine balance between being close enough to your flight so that you can make solid plans but not so close that you have to spend extra for late booking fees. 

Acting quickly can end up saving you hundreds of dollars (roughly $220 per ticket according to the Investopedia report linked above).

You Get More Flexibility

Aside from financial perks, booking your winter airfare now also gives you greater flexibility and peace of mind.

For starters, you’ll have a greater seat selection, which is especially important for those who travel in groups or simply have specific seating preferences.

The same goes for those who plan to book a long-haul flight and don’t want to be stuck in a middle seat for 10 or 12 hours straight.

Flight attendant in a full plane

You also get to be more flexible with your itinerary.

Booking so far ahead allows you to choose from a wider range of departure and return flights, so you don’t have to alter your schedule just because you can’t get a flight on the day you want.

Of course, you run the risk of changing your plans last minute and getting stuck with a reservation you can’t make. 

Still, most airlines have reasonably lenient cancellation policies, especially when you book months in advance. Just make sure to read the fine print before you make any commitments.

Greater Peace of Mind

Booking your winter airfare now will ultimately give you greater peace of mind.

Making your reservations last minute will only have you stressing all through the Thanksgiving season, and chances are you’ll have to compromise, be it about the price, date, or seating.

Knowing that your winter travel plans are taken care of will allow you to enjoy yourself without having to think about the logistics.

couple looking at christmas lights

Other Money-Saving Tips

If you’re looking to get the most value out of your winter vacation, booking your tickets now is just one step to making your trip more affordable. 

Firstly, if you’re not using fare comparison tools, you’re missing out.

Young woman wearing a winter coat in times square new york city

Sites like FareCompare and Skyscanner can help you save hundreds by presenting you with all the flights that meet your criteria, regardless of carrier.

Secondly, you’ll want to stay as flexible as possible when it comes to your travel dates.

Though this isn’t feasible for everyone, it’s best to steer clear of flights from December 23rd to January 2nd. That’s when airlines experience a surge in demand and hike up their prices. 

Busy Unspecified Airport

Make sure to use your reward points and miles, and even check out alternative routes if you don’t mind a layover or two.

Lastly, if you’re browsing for tickets online, make sure to clear your cookies first. Some websites track your activity and artificially increase ticket prices based on your preferences.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.