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Just in Time for Turkey! Four Thanksgiving Airfare Tricks for Last Minute Planners

Not having my Thanksgiving flight booked just over a month out was making me nervous. I knew that with each passing day, the airfare was rising, eating away at my wallet just in time for turkey. Some travelers know their Thanksgiving plans, allowing them to book early and avoid the price gouging. However, many last minute planners like me wait until around a month out to book their tickets for Thanksgiving. If you are in the market for a flight home, you don’t necessarily have to hand over your wallet. By practicing these Thanksgiving airfare tricks, you can come home for the holiday without forking over your entire paycheck.

Rethink your dates: The most expensive day to fly before Thanksgiving Day is appropriately the day before Thanksgiving. Rather than pairing down your flight search to just the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, shake up the calendar a bit. If you can leave any other day besides Wednesday, you can save paying double or triple the price on a plane ticket. When I researched my own Thanksgiving flight home, I found the cheapest flights on Monday with each day after progressively rising. Travelers returning home after Thanksgiving should also get creative by going beyond the normal and popular flight search for Sunday and Monday. To survive Thanksgiving airfare without going bankrupt, you need to think outside the box with your travel days.

Fly with the bird if traveling a short distance: For most travelers, the last place they want to be on Thanksgiving Day is the airport. However, if you aren’t traveling too far, a Thanksgiving Day ticket just might be the ticket for you. When I searched for flights departing on Thanksgiving Day, the prices were almost too good to be true. If you can fly out in the morning or early afternoon and still make it to Thanksgiving dinner, you should consider this option to save a great deal of cash.

Get up early or head home late: If you are booking your Thanksgiving airfare with just a little over a month out, the prices might seem high no matter what you do. However, the same rule of thumb that applies to all other times of the year applies to Thanksgiving travel. If you fly early or head home later in the day, you will often find the cheapest airfare out of the high price tags featured throughout the week. Early morning flights and late evening departures are almost always more affordable than those throughout the day.

Make a trip out of it by adding stopovers: Most of those traveling for Thanksgiving are trying to get home for the holiday. However if you leave around Wednesday or Thursday, you are going to have a hard time avoiding steep airfare. With last minute Thanksgiving travel, you have to get creative. If you can add a stopover to your journey that makes your ticket significantly cheaper even when you factor in getting a hotel for the night at that stop, it might be worth turning Thanksgiving week into a little vacation beyond turkey time.


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