There's no place like home for the holidays. Getting there, however, can be a financial nightmare.
Luckily, knowing when to book your travel can save you a lot.
Although the holiday season is still months away, now is the time to start prepping. Travel site Hipmunk crunched the numbers and found that the best weeks to book Thanksgiving and Christmas flights are coming up.
For Thanksgiving, the best time to score flight deals is the week of October 1, 2018. Travelers who book during this week will save, on average, 23 percent off the peak booking price, according to Hipmunk. On average, the flights will be around $387, round-trip, within the U.S.
The best week to snag savings for Christmas flights is the week of October 15, 2018. During this week, flights will be going for $357, round-trip, within the U.S., an average savings of 25 percent from peak prices.
Set fare alerts with sites like Hipmunk, Google Flights or Kayak — or use the Hopper travel app to really get the most for your money. These alerts will let you know when is precisely the best time to book. Hipmunk found that travelers who used fare alerts saved 6 percent and 7 percent on Thanksgiving and Christmas flights, respectively.
Choose travel days carefully
Flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day will almost always be cheaper. The most expensive days will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Friday before Christmas, December 21, 2018, according to Hipmunk.
Cash in your rewards points
CNBC Make It found that the best travel credit card is the Capital One Venture Card, which pays out two miles for every dollar you spend. Plus, if you spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months after opening an account, you'll get 50,000 bonus points. That's equal to $500 in travel.
Try nearby airports
Most travel sites will let you search multiple airports when looking for flights, so if you're close enough to several airports, make sure to include them in case one offers cheaper fights.
Think of "coach" as a luxury
Consider opting for basic economy fare class. Airlines like Alaska, American Airlines, Delta and United offer budget fare classes that restrict your seat selection and your luggage, allowing you usually only a small handbag, but give you a break on the price. If you can pack light, this may be a good option for you. Just make sure to read the fine print on these budget fare classes before booking.
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