The Thanksgiving holiday weekend each year is one of the most heavily traveled periods of the year.
The day before Thanksgiving is among the busiest days of the year at airports and train stations and the following Sunday is not far behind. Airlines know this and can charge premium fares.
However, it is possible to save on fares if you book at the right time, and according to travel website Expedia.com, today is the day you should book your Thanksgiving holiday travel. But Expedia says 85% of travelers wait too long and miss out.
Airlines are constantly adjusting their fares, usually with costlier tickets long before the flight leaves as well as those purchased within the last week.
"Timing is a big factor in getting a good deal on airfare," said Sarah Gavin, vice president of global communications for Expedia. "People typically know pretty far in advance whether they're going to travel for the holidays, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on prices months out. Even with holiday travel, a general rule of thumb applies: If you find a fare that seems like a good deal, buy it."
61 to 90 days before departure
After looking at the data from past years, Expedia projects the best time to book Thanksgiving travel is 61 to 90 days before departure. In the past, it says travelers who did that saves up to 10% on fares. Those who waited until the last minute paid a 20% premium.
According to Expedia, the sweet spot for booking travel during the Thanksgiving holiday extends from today through September 23.
It's probably not too early to start thinking about Christmas and year-end holiday travel as well, but you have a lot more time to choose the best fare. Expedia predicts the best deals will be 14 to 20 days in advance of departure.
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