For the first time in three years, it really is over the river and through the woods to
Grandma’s house we can go for our holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, there is a new big bad wolf to deal with—sky high airfares.
After two holiday seasons dampened by Covid warnings, we are all eager for that holiday travel and the airlines know it. To increased demand, add increased jet fuel costs plus fewer flights and you get the highest Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares in years. Is there any way to avoid telling the kids they might have to wait—again--for Grandma’s special pie? Maybe.
First, plan NOW if holiday travel is on your agenda. While still high, airfares have dropped since the summer peaks and should remain stable until the middle of October. After that expect prices to rise until they reach the second mortgage level of last-minute December prices.
Second, look at all possible travel dates. For Thanksgiving that means avoiding the Wednesday before turkey day and the Sunday after. If possible, fly the beginning of the week and return on Monday or Tuesday, not Sunday. If that is not an option, consider flying on the big day, traditionally the day with the lowest prices. A little inconvenient, but an early morning flight should get you to your destination while the bird is still cooking.
The same advice goes for Christmas. December 25th this year is a Sunday. Consider flying out the previous Monday or Tuesday and returning midweek before the New Year’s Eve weekend rush. Think of the early departure as a chance to shop after arriving at your destination instead of packing and hauling all those gifts.
How do you know when it is time to grab that airfare? Use websites such as Kayak, Google Flights or Hopper to look at fares to your destination. Where possible, set up alerts. If you have a preferred airline, check their website frequently. Book when you think the price is as good as it is going to get, congratulate yourself for your hard work, and do not get upset if the price later drops by a few dollars. Remember, you have been playing the airfare game with big companies using sophisticated methods to squeeze the most profit out of that seat. The real win is enjoying that hot out of the oven apple pie and the joy of being together again.
Donna Zabel, owner of DreamMaker Destinations, has been helping travelers turn their travel dreams into travel reality for over 20 years. Having explored all seven continents and over 135 countries, she enjoys sharing her travel tales and encourages everyone to find their own story to tell.