Put the extra cash towards gifts instead.

Michelle Darrisaw
October 11, 2017

Fall isn’t even over yet, and you’re probably already itching to start crossing off your gift list and preparing for holiday travels. Though we’re still nose deep in the throes of pumpkin spice, it’s never too early to start thinking about booking flights for Christmas. While we can’t promise a pain-free airport experience and shorter security lines, we can help you to avoid the big price tag that comes with traveling during the Yuletide season. Because there’s no better gift than shaving a few dollars off of your flight tickets, right?

Great news, budget-conscious travelers! Here is a guideline on the cheapest days to navigate the friendly skies, for what is considered to be the most wonderful—and busiest—time of the year.

Be flexible.

According to Cheapair.com, if you’re willing to fly on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you can save an average of $50 per ticket, as opposed to flying on December 22. Sure, flying on Christmas Day doesn’t sound appealing. But if you’re splitting the holidays between family and friends, you can spend Christmas Eve in one destination and fly to another on December 25.

Typically, during a normal work week, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are often the least busy and least expensive times to fly. More specifically, you’ll find the best deals for departure flights on Wednesday, December 20, with December 27 being the best day to book your return flight.

Book in October.

Some frequent travelers advocate waiting until the last minute to buy tickets, as some airlines will attempt to fill empty seats by offering more competitive pricing. But finding cheap fares may require a bit more planning, than, say, picking out toys for the little ones on your holiday shopping list.

In 2016, Skyscanner compiled data on the best days to fly. Their findings showed that people departing between December 19 and December 25, with return flights between December 26 and December 27, saved more money when booking at least 11 weeks out. Which means by October 29, you should get your credit card ready.

Switch up airlines.

You can also cut costs by flying to your destination on one airline and returning on another. The same rule can be applied to airports. If you have the luxury of residing in a city with multiple airports, try leaving from a different one.

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Adjust your criteria.

If you’re not willing to bend on departure dates, times, airports, and seats, the more it’s going to cost you. Beyond specific days, being flexible during the holidays will save you more time and money.