Just as you finished the annual exercise in masochism that is Thanksgiving travel, GUESS WHAT? It's time to turn around and do it all again. That's because America's next-biggest air travel holiday -- Christmas -- is less than a month away. And just as soon as you get that grossly oversized roller bag unpacked, it's time to start thinking about booking tickets for the end of December.
Because even if you're not champing at the bit to stuff yourself in economy class to spend a week with your family again, maybe you just want to take advantage of your time off. Or you're in a group text right now planning a wild New Year;s Eve in Des Moines. Either way, there are plane tickets to be bought, and, apparently, loads of money to be saved.
Because the week of December 5th is, historically, when you'll find the lowest airfares for both Christmas and New Year's. How do we know? Skyscanner is on the case. The search engine scans airfares to find when they're cheapest, and based on its data, the sweet spot will be in the days around next Monday. (Cyber what?)
For Christmas, airfares are about 5% cheaper the week of December 5th than the rest of the year. Maybe that's only $20 on a $400 round-trip, but that’s still enough to get your favorite second cousin a gift card to Chili's. After next week, you'll risk falling into the dreaded under-21-day-advance-purchase window, and paying a lot more.
For your Rockin' New Year's Eve, the savings are even better. The week of December 5th historically has airfares almost 11% lower than the rest of the year. That's about $44 on a $400 round-trip. Or, as you'll learn, exactly one and a half vodka-sodas on NYE in South Beach.
Of course, results will vary widely based on the routes, and if you're looking for the nearest bottle of Xanax because you haven't booked your Christmas flights yet, by all means go ahead and book today. But if we've learned anything in 2016, it's that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So maybe looking at what's happened in previous years will, at the very least, save you a couple of Harriet Tubmans.