by Donald Wood
Last updated: 2:23 PM ET, Mon October 3, 2022
New data from AAA Travel reveals the best times to purchase Thanksgiving holiday travel period flights.
While the most recent AAA booking data showed that most travelers book one or two months before Thanksgiving, the average prices remain largely unchanged. Travelers who wait until less than a month before the holiday get the best deals.
AAA officials did warn of limited inventory and potential sold-out flights impacting plans to save money, as well as waiting too long, with Thanksgiving week prices potentially skyrocketing.
Data showed that average airfare prices booked 28-60 days in advance were $543, decreased to $501 when booked between 21-27 days before departure and fell to $474 when purchased between 7-14 days ahead of the holiday.
When looking at which days to travel, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving appears to be overtaking Wednesday as the busiest, while Sunday is the most expensive. AAA data showed that Monday flights tend to be cheaper, but flying on Thanksgiving Day will save the most money.
Last month, data from travel app Hopper estimated that roundtrip domestic airfares would average out at about $350 for Thanksgiving, a leap of 22 percent compared to the pre-pandemic year in 2019. The app also predicts international airfares are expected to average $795 for a roundtrip flight, an increase of 25 percent.
"If you're traveling for Thanksgiving, your best bet is to travel on Monday before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day if you can," Hopper lead economist Hayley Berg said. "Do not try to fly home on that weekend after Thanksgiving. Those will be the busiest airports and the highest prices."
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