Believe it or not, it’s already time to book your holiday travel.
The truth is, flights around the winter holidays can cost 75% more than non-holiday flights, so finding a cheap ticket will be hard. That said, Hopper, a flight prediction site, has released their annual Holiday Travel Index, which shares money-saving strategies for when to book flights.
Here’s what you need to know to get the best deal on your holiday travel.
Book your Christmas flight first
This might sound counterintuitive, but according to Hopper, the best time to book Christmas travel is now, the first week of October.
This is due to the fact that Christmas ticket prices rise faster as you get closer to the holiday. If you wait, you’ll see prices jump by $7 a day in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.
Book Thanksgiving tickets before Halloween
Unlike Christmas, Hopper predicts that Thanksgiving flight prices will stay steady throughout October, so just be sure to book before Halloween.
Pick the right day
Arriving the day before a holiday is the best way to get a bad deal.
That’s why the most expensive day to depart for Thanksgiving travel is Wednesday, Nov. 22. Instead, save $48 dollars by traveling on Monday, Nov. 20. If your schedule is even more flexible, travel Thanksgiving morning, and you’ll save an average of $54 dollars.
Depending on your family dynamic (paging Jerry Springer!), you might want to skip town the day after Thanksgiving, but that’ll cost you the most. Wait until Nov. 29 and you’ll save about $161.
For Christmas, the cheapest days to depart are Saturday, Dec. 16 and Tuesday, Dec. 19. Traveling on these dates will save you $110 compared with traveling on the busiest day, Friday, Dec. 22.
For your return flight, Thursday Jan. 4 is the cheapest, and will save you $97 compared with flying on New Year’s Day, the most popular return date.