The best time to book cheap flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2018

If you need to book flights for the holidays and want to save some money, start searching for cheap fares now!

CheapAir has just released its 2018 Holiday Flights Report to provide travelers with information about the best days to fly to your Thanksgiving and Christmas travel destinations.

The website is continually tracking 11,000 itineraries for popular routes to identify average holiday fares.

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Best time to book Thanksgiving and Christmas 2018 holiday travel 

Finding a great deal for holiday travel can be a challenge. Being flexible with travel days, mixing and matching airlines, and checking nearby airports are a few ways to save money.

With those tips in mind, here are some of the key findings from CheapAir’s report…

Thanksgiving week

  • Best time to book: September
  • Cheapest departure date: Monday, November 19
  • Cheapest return dates: Friday, November 23 & Tuesday, November 27
  • More details: The Sunday after Thanksgiving is a busy and expensive travel day; return on Monday or Tuesday to save money

Christmas week 

  • Best time to book: September and October
  • Cheapest departure date: Tuesday, December 18
  • Cheapest return date: Friday, December 28
  • More details: Traveling on Christmas Eve is expected to be a good bargain this year compared to traveling on Saturday the 22nd

If prices are too high for your desired dates, consider flying on the holiday itself (Thanksgiving or Christmas) for a cheap fare.

In general, money expert Clark Howard says fares tend to be at their lowest about six weeks out from travel, but the bottom line from this report is that you need to book earlier than that for the holidays.

"It's really pretty straightforward. If you wait too long, you will pay more for your tickets," according to CheapAir. "The other unsavory byproduct of waiting to buy is that you're going to be facing much less choice in the available flights."

Clark uses Google Flights to track fares and set up price alerts to receive notifications via email when there are changes.

Google Flights lists the prices for all of the major airlines except Southwest, so you’ll have to go directly to Southwest’s website to see if they have a better deal.

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