It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get genuinely hyped for the holidays. We’re so happy to feel that excitement in the air – and to see people connecting with family and friends again. Those of us planning to fly for the holidays need to know – Thanksgiving is right around the corner! If you haven’t sprung for airfare yet, we’re getting very close to the time when flights will likely get quite expensive.
For now, we’re still outside that “danger zone.” Use our Holiday Flights Report and its straightforward, color-coded calendar to guide you towards the best fares. Here’s a breakdown of the best (and worst) days to travel this holiday season.
Best Days to Fly for Thanksgiving
Let’s start with Thanksgiving, since we’re getting close to crunch time. A quick look at the calendar indicates that the best value flights for Thanksgiving week occur midweek.
Tuesday, Nov 23
People really love to travel on the weekend, BUT the hands down best value airline tickets occur on midweek flights. Thanksgiving week is no different. Look to Tuesday to offer holiday travelers some of the lowest fares this week.
Wednesday, Nov 24
If you have the flexibility, consider flying on “Thanksgiving Eve” for all of the same reasons that Tuesdays offer cheap flights. We are giving Tuesday the edge during this busy travel week, but you should be able to find a lot of low fares on Wednesday too.
Thursday, Nov 25
People taking longer-haul flights might not want to eat into the Thanksgiving holiday itself, but Thanksgiving Day can often be quite a good value for travelers. When you have a short flight to your destination, and you time it right, you can often roll up just in time for Thanksgiving dinner!
Worst Days to Fly for Thanksgiving
Let’s define our terms. A lot of people simply prefer to fly on the weekend, which is why weekend flights cost more. But since we’re looking at the “best” and “worst” days to fly based on price, the weekend flights usually cost the most (and it’s not even close).
Sunday, Nov 28
Travelers love a Sunday return flight. So, naturally the Sunday after Thanksgiving is hands down the most expensive day to fly this holiday week. You’re not going to find many deals – and the airports are bound to be more crowded.
Sunday, Nov 21
The Sunday prior to Thanksgiving is the second most expensive day to fly. The good news is that you can save big time just by shifting your flight date a day or two to one of those midweek days.
Saturday, Nov 27
More good news. Even though the Saturday after Thanksgiving is an expensive day to fly relative to others, the fares on this day are trending slightly less costly than Sunday. If you need to fly on the weekend, we suggest Saturday over Sunday.
Best Days to Fly for Christmas/New Years
The very good news this Christmas holiday is that you have a variety of date options for cheap flights.
Friday, Dec 24
Christmas Eve is not always a great value but this year, you can find some great deals by traveling close to the holiday itself. Look for early morning flights (which usually have better on-time rates).
Tuesday, Jan 4
Every year, folks choose to travel on the Sunday or Monday after New Years, but every year if you can extend your vacation by just one day, the savings can be huge. This year, you’ll save $85 on average per ticket if you wait to fly home until Tuesday.
Wednesday, Dec 29 to Saturday, Jan 1
Ok, ok this is technically 4 best days, not one. But how could we resist? If you’re planning a NYE getaway, all of these dates offer great value this year – and it’s somewhat unprecedented to see these kinds of deals surrounding New Year’s. It’s a sign. Take a trip!
Worst Days to Fly for Christmas/New Years
Sunday, Dec 26
The most expensive day to travel over Christmas week is the day after Christmas, and frankly we don’t think too many people are planning to fly the day after the holiday anyway. Let’s move on.
Monday, Dec 27
We do think a lot of travelers are going to opt for a Monday return this year, so our best advice is to buy soon. Don’t wait – if the fare should drop after you buy you can always rely on Price Drop Payback to cover the difference. We think the best strategy is to buy now while the fares aren’t astronomical.
Sunday, Jan 2
Understandably, the Sunday after NYE is going to see a lot of air travel. We’re putting January 2 in the “only if you have to” column. If you have your heart set on this travel date, it’s best to buy right now.
Just how this year will shake out is a bit of a mystery. While we know a lot of people are getting back to travel for the first time in many months, there may not be a return to pre-pandemic travel rates just yet. Because we’re just not sure how busy it’s going to be, we want to encourage travelers to buy their tickets now, and utilize Price Drop Payback if you’re worried that the ticket price may go down. This is not the year to “wait and see.” That’s the surest way to get burned.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re on the hook for more than you planned, consider our Buy Now, Pay Later option. You can spread the cost out over a number of months with very attractive terms.
So to recap, don’t wait until the last minute – shop for holiday flights now!