Labor Day weekend has past. As twenty-somethings sweep up their empty cans on Natty Lite and moms take advantage of sales, there is another holiday to look towards. And, shockingly enough, it’s not Halloween. It’s the beginning of a new season–holiday season.
The leaves are changing. Halloween candy is slowly peeking out on orange and black shelves. It’ll be Starbucks red cup season soon. Now that everything is going to be pumpkin scented, travelers should begin looking into Thanksgiving travel plans. Does it seem painfully early? Absolutely. However, this is where forethought and crazy, type-A planning is going to save you a boatload of money.
Before attempting this feat, do yourself a bigger favor and attempt to save yourself from serious stress. To do so, embrace the idea of flexibility. Everyone in the known American universe is trying to get home to see their families during the holiday season. Each mishandled bag and delayed flight will seem like a personal affront, and that’s typical. In fact, that’s pretty much inevitable. Nevertheless, demand and seat capacity is likely to remain high until 2016. In an effort to avoid almost unavoidable stress, be flexible. Also, if your dates are flexible, you’ll get the lowest fare.
When you’re perusing flights, you might have to bite the bullet and fly out on Thanksgiving. It won’t be too bad. You’re feeling flexible. You’ll be wearing comfy, stretchy pants for optimal eating and napping, so you might as well fly in them. By flying out on Thanksgiving Day, you will miss the Macy’s Day Parade. However, the holiday itself will see the cheapest prices and the least amount of fellow travelers. If you see something reasonable, book now.
According to Chris Slowe, Chief Data Scientist at Hipmunk.com, booking in September is the smartest move. “We’ve found the average traveler is saving $106 by booking flights in September instead of August.”
If all this is too much and you can’t picture yourself squeezing into an airplane seat for a few hours, you may not have to. If you are lucky enough to live just close enough to your extended family to drive, do it. Some parts of the US are seeing gas prices dip just under $2. Pick up a car and road trip to your family. There are suggestions for crafting your optimal road trip mixed tape/playlist here.
All in all, you’ll be fine. Take deep breaths and plan your trip now. You’ll thank yourself later.