Now Is the Time To Book Holiday Flights

Couple happily pushing the trolley with their son at airport.
jacoblund / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Though it may be tough to comprehend the imminence of fall given the incredible heatwaves and droughts impacting much of the world, summer is indeed winding down — and the holidays will be here before you know it.

What does that mean for consumers? Well, if you’re planning on traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, now is the time to purchase your flights, because it’s looking like they will only get more expensive going forward.

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In July, average airline prices dropped 9.6% compared to the previous month, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. The drop in cost can be attributed largely to the decreasing price of gasoline, which hit record highs in June. 

Every year travel experts recommend booking your holiday flights sooner than later, but this year the pressure is really on. August is looking particularly attractive for airfare — but it won’t last long.  

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In its Q3 travel index released on August 1, the online booking platform Hopper said that plane tickets should average less than $300 per round trip flight for domestic itineraries booked this month. 

“Domestic airfare this fall will drop to $286 this August, down 25% compared to the airfare peak in May of this year, in line with 2019 prices,” Hopper reported. “Airfare will remain at or below $300 through late September, before beginning to rise slowly in October and November.”

So, if you know your holiday plans will involve flying, now is the time to pounce on tickets. Costs will only go up from here on out.

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To get the best deals on airfare, do the following:

  • Track prices on Google flights
  • Book group tickets individually
  • Consider flying on the actual holiday (Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day)
  • Determine the cheapest airport to fly into and out of
  • Search on reputable sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights
  • Consider flying on separate airlines for your departing and return flights
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There’s no rule that says you have to fly round trip with a single airline, and sometimes the best way to save is to fly with JetBlue one way and opt for Southwest for your return flight, just as an example. Happy flying.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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