by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
The airlines are gearing up for what looks to be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons in years. This is good news for American Airlines, Northwest and Continental, but it’s bad news for you. Travelers who need to fly over Thanksgiving or the December holidays will find stiff competition for affordable seats.
If you're one of the millions of Americans planning to fly this holiday season, you'll need to plan ahead and be flexible with your flight dates and times in order to get an affordable flight. Read below for tops tips to keep your holiday travel from busting your bank account.
Book early: Buy tickets at least 30 days in advance for maximum [seat] selection and savings.
Avoid peak travel dates: Certain dates around the holidays are more popular for travel than others commanding much higher flight fares. Needless to write, you will have a less frantic airport experience by traveling on less crowded dates.
Fly on the holiday: The cheapest times to fly are on the holidays themselves: Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.
Use flexible online search tools: To help you find the cheap seats compare prices at Expedia, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline.com and even Ebay is getting into the action.
Fly out of an alternate airport: By avoiding major airports and flying out of smaller, less popular ones, you may find more availability.
Book a vacation package: If you're not staying with relatives and need a hotel room, you may be able to save on airfare by booking air and hotel as part of a package.
Safe and happy travels!