Holidays are always the most hectic travel times of the year. Don’t let the high costs, congested airports, and traffic delays keep you at home this Thanksgiving, though. With proper planning, you can experience an unforgettable Turkey Day at the best price.
Here’s how to take advantage of the best deals to create your ideal holiday getaway.
Know when to book.
Timing is essential to getting the best deal on your travel reservations. Single travelers with flexible schedules can take advantage of last-minute deals; however, traveling families and other groups may have to do some more proactive planning.
The data reveals some guidelines to follow. Based on recent bookings from another popular holiday on Hotel Engine, Labor Day 2017, the best time to save on hotels is between 60-90 days before check-in. However, nearly 92% of travelers wait to book within two months of the holiday and lose out on 33.2% additional savings.
That’s not to say there aren’t last-minute bargains. One of our customers, Jorge, found a hotel for 58% off in Orlando, Florida, just three days before the holiday weekend (saving him $86.24 per night!). But it took him 32 searches to get it – so remember that booking in the nick of time usually requires more flexibility. The highest savings might not be at your hotel of choice, and the most popular hotels and resorts often book up earlier in the year.
If you would rather have peace of mind, Hotel Engine can help you save an average of 26% off public rates all year long.
This year, Thanksgiving falls on November 23, so go ahead and book before September 23 (Saturday) to maximize your savings. Don’t have your plans finalized yet? Don’t worry; look for our refundable room rates in the cities you’re considering and book now to lock in your savings.
Avoid peak travel dates and times.
Besides the weekends of summer’s peak vacation season, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, according to Airlines for America. The Wednesday before the national holiday isn’t much better, either. Adding a day or two to your trip can make a difference of hundreds of dollars and extra hours of your time.
The same can be said for the time of day. Even if traveling on the Wednesday or Sunday around Thanksgiving is unavoidable, you can make it easier by choosing a departure time when most others are sleeping. Taking an early morning, late night or redeye flight reduces the likelihood of long security lines, traffic jams, delays, or cancellations affecting your plans.
Take advantage of shortcuts.
Some of the best tools to ease your travel frustrations are available right on your smartphone. At the very least, download your airline’s app for quick access to your boarding pass, flight information, and trip notifications.
Other apps can do more to help you get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible — and even enjoy your time while you’re there. Picks like GateGuru, MiFlight, LoungeBuddy, and MyTSA pack all the essential info, such as how to get around the terminal, estimated wait time, available amenities and lounges, and frequently asked security questions.
You’ll get through the busy Thanksgiving season unscathed if you get ahead of the booking curve early. Just remember to shop around and plan ahead, and you’ll have plenty to enjoy this holiday season.