Flying during the holidays can be a perilous endeavor. Airports are crowded. Lines are long. Tickets are expensive. The weather can be unpredictable. On the other hand, a holiday away from home can make for some great memories, whether you spend your time visiting relatives or checking out a far-off destination you’ve always wanted to see. If you plan to travel over the holidays, keep the following tips in mind.
– Avoid peak travel days. Every holiday has its own best and worst days to travel around it, depending on where the holiday falls during the week, as people try to cluster days off and maximize their vacation time. When in doubt, travel on the holiday itself. Doing so can net you some of the best deals.
– Don’t wait. The closer you get to the holiday, the less likely you are to find a good deal. Airlines often take advantage of last-minute travelers, knowing that they have fewer options with just a few days left before they have to fly. Rather than crossing your fingers for a last-minute sale, book well in advance of the holiday in order to save yourself some money.
– Be careful about your connections. Between the weather and holiday crowds, the air transit system often bogs down around the holidays. Don’t take a chance by booking short connections. If you miss one because of a delayed flight, you may spend a long time in the airport waiting for an open seat.
– Plan for airport delays. Leave earlier than you normally would for your flight. Chances are you’ll have to park farther away and face longer lines than usual at the check-in counter and the security checkpoint. Don’t jeopardize your trip by cutting it too close.
– Book a late or early flight. Airports tend to be quieter early in the day and late at night. When airports are quieter, you’ll experience shorter lines and less likelihood of a delay. If you can stand getting up early or staying up late, try not to fly during the middle of the day.