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Holiday Flight Reservation Tips
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Finding cheap travel deals, particularly cheap fares, cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel packages, and cheap vacation packages usually become harder to find over the holidays when more people tend to travel.
Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about booking your holiday travel plans.
The following are tips on how to save money when planning to travel during or around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, according to Smarter Travel:
• Make certain you consider all fees before purchasing an airline ticket. Holiday travel often means that you will be traveling with more or bigger/heavier bags. Other fees that need to be factored include such things, depending on the airline, as seat selection fees, carry-on fees, and fees for booking over the phone vs. online. Sometimes once all fees are included you will find that the airline with the cheapest base ticket price does not offer the cheapest total price.
• Be flexible as to your travel dates, if at all possible. Ticket prices often vary by hundreds of dollars depending on the days you fly. Usually it is cheaper to fly more than a week prior to a holiday or to wait until the day of the holiday to fly. Sometimes even moving your initial travel dates a single day will result in significant savings. Select travel internet websites (such as Cheapfares) that offer the ability to show fares up to three days prior and after your preliminary planned travel dates so that you can decide if the savings if worth changing your travel dates.
• Purchase your airline tickets early. Historically, holiday flights fill up quickly and airlines respond to reduced supply by increasing prices on remaining seats.
• Whenever possible, reserve nonstop flights (with no stops between your departure and destination city) or direct (no switching of planes) flights. Winter weather and heavy holiday air traffic frequently result in delays and cancellations. Try to avoid airports that tend to be hardest hit by winter weather, particularly if you have to make a flight connection.
• Select an early morning flight so that you can usually avoid the worst delays of the day.
• Look into alternate airports for lower airfares. If you live in or close to a large city, you often have more than one airport you can use. Sometimes alternate airports at either your departure or destination or both can offer significantly cheaper ticket prices as well as a greater variety of convenient departure times. Another advantage of using a smaller airport is that often parking is easier and cheaper and you face smaller crowds.
• If you have a lot of flexibility in the dates you will travel, and can fly outside of the peak holiday travel dates (which start around December 19th and will end sometime during the first week of January), then you should be on the lookout for winter airfare sales. Holiday airfare sales these days are very infrequent, if not extinct, for flights on peak travel dates.
• If you have earned elite frequent flier status with any airline, try to purchase tickets from that airline when prices are comparable from competing airlines. Frequent flier perks sometimes include being directed to shorter security lines, being given priority boarding, and access to special numbers to call if your flight is delayed or cancel. Even infrequent fliers can benefit from airline membership which often comes with options such as personalized apps with mobile boarding passes and gate change information.
• Sign up for fare alerts that will deliver the cheapest current deals to your email inbox. You should closely monitor price decreases and increases.
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