With the holidays right around the corner, one of the busiest travel seasons is officially among us. Around this time of year, people are booking flights all around the world to connect with friends and family members everywhere, including myself — except I booked my travel plans a couple of months ago. If you haven’t already done so yourself, I suggest you get to booking yours ASAP.
Not only does flying around the holidays make for one of the busiest times of year, but it’s also one of the most expensive. After Thanksgiving, airline tickets can be expected to soar almost immediately; usually hitting their highest peak around a week before December 25th. As a result, travel experts suggest booking trips as soon as possible. While some travelers prefer to search for deals around Thanksgiving, not all airlines partake in events like “Black Friday,” or in what seems to be the latest craze, “Travel Tuesday.” And even if they do, a lot of deals aren’t advertised ahead of time, or they come with fine print details, travel restrictions, and restraints.
If you’re panicking after what you’ve read so far, have no fear — you haven’t run out of time to book moderately priced travel reservations quite yet. Plus, I’m here! Despite the fact that I’ve never been out of the country, I’ve done a decent amount of traveling within the U.S., especially over and around the holidays. I’ve flown on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day (and the day after), Thanksgiving (and the day before), to name a few. Safe to say, I’m pretty holiday travel savvy, and below I’ve put together a list of websites to help you stay prepared.
When booking a flight (no matter what time of year, actually) I always start off using number one on this list:
I mainly use Kayak for booking flights, but the website also has a search engine that’s great for booking hotels and rental cars as well. When you input your travel dates and destination(s), Kayak scans the internet for several options and also provides different tools and features to aide you in focusing your search. Kayak allows you to compare several different airlines and fares with one simple search, ultimately presenting you with the most up-to-date prices. It even includes a feature that allows its users to set price alerts in order to track prices on flights and hotels to prevent missing any future deals.
Hopper is a free mobile app that allows you to book flights from your phone while also telling you when is the best time to buy. It does this via a color coordinated calendar that recommends whether you should wait to book your flight, or book it immediately. Similarly to Kayak, Hopper is also able to keep an eye on your trip and send you notifications the moment prices drop. It’s super handy, even if you’re like me and enjoy researching flights for trips that are nothing but the products of wishful thinking.
- Google Flights
This one might seem like a pretty obvious tool, but Google Flights isn’t something I learned about and started using until recently. It’s best used for domestic flights, but its new, updated layout provides you with a map that allows you to view airports anywhere in the world. If you’re looking at a domestic flight, for example, without even having to input anything more than your take off location, the map shows you the cost to fly to any of the major airports within the United States. Pretty cool, huh?
- Scott’s Cheap Flights
This website was very recently suggested to me by a friend who travels both domestically and internationally ALL the time and swears by it. It’s quite user friendly. All you have to do is enter your email and Scott’s Cheap Flights pretty much does the rest of the work for you by searching for flights all day everyday. When an airline has a great deal, Scott notifies you of it through email with instructions on how to book. Also, when an airline makes a mistake, Scott lets you know of it. Check out some of the awesome reviews on the website listed above if you don’t believe me!
If you’re still in need of making holiday travel arrangements, hopefully at least one of these handy sites is able to provide you with the help you need. They’ve never let me down. And, make sure to keep them in mind for use on your future adventures, too!
Photo credit: Porapak Apichodilok @ pexels
What are your favorite resources for affordable airfare? Share them with us in the comments section below.