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The Cheapest Days to Book Holiday Flights (and the Cheapest Days to Fly)

Oct. 19, 2018
Travel, Travel Deals, Vacations & Trip Planning
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

You aren’t imagining it: Prices for holiday air travel seem out of reach.

But Priceline might have a solution: Based off of data from last year’s holiday travel season, here are the best days to book flights and to fly for the holidays.

The big days

You may be able to save money by flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. These were the days with the lowest average fares across the country in 2017. Average fares for the 2018 holiday season (based on August and September of 2018) are $351 for Thanksgiving and $321 for Christmas.

» Learn more: 7 ways your credit card could save you money on holiday travel

Based on Priceline’s data, Thursday is the overall cheapest day of the week to book Thanksgiving Day travel, while Monday is the most expensive. For booking Christmas travel, Sunday is the overall cheapest day of the week to book, and Tuesday is the most expensive.

There’s still time to get low rates

Based on last year’s ticket sales on priceline.com, late October is the best time to find the greatest deals on Thanksgiving Day flights, and mid-November was the perfect time to book travel for Christmas Day.

Check your calendar

Use this data as a reminder to check nearby dates. Christmas Day may or may not be the cheapest day to travel to your hometown. Take five minutes to try several dates near your ideal one to find the cheapest round-trip tickets.

Don’t forget reward travel options

If prices get high, consider using mileage or rewards points from your favorite travel rewards credit card.

NerdWallet does not guarantee prices or dates. They are subject to change or expiration.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Travel rewards bucket list: Showering on a plane
How I flew for free: Round trip NYC to India using Chase Ultimate Rewards
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards

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