Book Thanksgiving and Christmas flights now, experts say

If you haven’t already booked your 2022 holiday travel plans, do so as soon as possible, say industry experts.

“Despite the chaos and cancellations this summer from almost every major airline, now is still the best time to book a flight for the upcoming holiday season,” Phil Dengler, co-founder of travel website The Vacationer, told FOX Business.

According to Dengler, the best time to book vacation trips is June and July, although it’s not too late to strike a deal before prices go up. The earlier you book, the better your chances of getting an early-morning non-stop flight, Dengler said.

“Flights in the early morning are canceled much less frequently than those in the afternoon or evening,” explains Dengler. “An itinerary with one or more connections also increases your chances of being canceled or delayed, so I always recommend booking non-stop flights.”

Booking early also gives you the opportunity to potentially save “hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars,” according to Dengler.

Clint Henderson, the editor-in-chief of travel site The Points Guy, agreed, saying consumers should already be setting price alerts for Google flight tracking for fall and holiday trips.

Flight costs are expected to increase by 23% in December.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

“Domestic flight prices have fallen by a quarter since peaking in the summer, according to travel booking website Hopper. The longer you wait to book those Christmas trips, the more likely you are to pay more,” Henderson said.

But with prices still high, Henderson recommends redeeming travel points saved up during the coronavirus pandemic.

For Thanksgiving in particular, consumers should aim to book by late August or early September at the latest. After Halloween, prices will “rise significantly,” according to Dengler.

Beginning Nov. 1, travelers should expect fares to increase by 40% to an average of $400 for a round trip, Dengler added. During Thanksgiving week, consumers should expect an additional 25% increase, taking round-trip fares to an average of about $500.

Meanwhile, he estimates that international last-minute fares booked during Thanksgiving week will average about $820, a 32% increase over price increases.

For Christmas the best time to book is anytime before the big turkey festival. However, consumers should aim to secure tariffs through late August and early September.

The best deals for domestic and international travel for Christmas are around mid-September, so around 90-100 days in advance. Dengler project fares will increase by 7% to an average of $460 two weeks before Christmas for a round trip. During the Christmas holiday week, fares increase by a further 11% to an average of $510 for a round trip

International travel prices will increase significantly around Thanksgiving, “so travelers should aim to book Christmas flights no later than Thanksgiving to avoid the biggest price hikes,” he noted.

The air fare is expected to increase by 23% in December.

However, according to Henderson, consumers don’t need to rush to book a hotel just yet.

“If you need a hotel, you can probably wait a while to book as prices in the hotel space remain high at the moment,” he added.

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