Holiday Travel Tips: Insider Tips to Save Time and Money When Booking Thanksgiving, Christmas Flights and Hotels | Tech US News

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With Thanksgiving less than a month away and Christmas just under 60 days away, it’s officially holiday travel planning season.

Whether consumers are booking flights and hotels or need information to save time and relieve stress at the airport, travel experts shared their top tips and facts with “Good Morning America” ​​to guide them down the path of least resistance .

Top tips before booking your holiday flight

While some may not want to hear it, Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights and author of “Take More Vacations,” told “GMA” that “the best time to book vacation flights was in June.”

“I know it’s a small convenience right now, but ask as a reminder for next year,” he continued, adding that “if you’re hoping to travel this coming summer, you’re actually starting to see some really cheap flights. Those opposite-season flights now “.

Last-minute tips for booking a flight for Thanksgiving

Keyes said the second-best time to book if you missed out on the off-season deals is right now, because flights will almost certainly get more expensive the longer people wait.

“You want to try to book it sooner rather than later because rates tend to move in one direction the last few weeks and not go down,” he said.

Keyes suggests following the 21-day rule, which means you book based on your departure date to fit an airline’s “advanced purchase requirement” found in the fine print of fare terms and conditions.

“This usually says ‘this fare is only available if you book it at least 21 days before travel,'” Keyes said. “On the 20th, that rate is no longer available, it’s expired, and at that point, the new cheapest rate is going to be $100 or $200 more expensive.”

“Twenty-one days before you travel is kind of the deadline to book that flight,” he continued, adding that “he’s hoping to travel the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which would be November 23rd.” I’ll try to get that flight booked by November 2 at the latest.”

After that, the price will continue to increase gradually.

MORE: What airlines owe customers if flights are canceled or delayed

The best flight departure time to book and why

“The most important thing to remember is that the first flight of the day has a 25% higher on-time performance rate than the last flights of the day,” Keyes shared. “Get those early morning flights because they’re much more likely to get you there on time.”

In addition to better weather and fewer morning storms, Keyes explained that booking the first flight helps mitigate the risks of delays or cancellations due to any issues with the incoming aircraft, since yours will be parked overnight and ready at the gate. .

Alternative destinations for Thanksgiving travel deals

“Thanksgiving is the best week of the year for international travel,” Keyes said, sharing a real-time example of how it would cost someone $118 more to fly from New York to Omaha than from New York to Portugal during the Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving

He also said it’s a slower season than summer, with fewer crowds and lower prices, and some areas of Europe will start their seasonal holiday markets.

Tips to save time, money and mitigate stress at the airport during the holidays

Keyes offered a couple of his top ideas to “help keep things calm at the airport” during the chaotic holiday season.

“If you can avoid it, try not to check a bag,” he said. “It will really help improve your odds for a lot of situations.”

“You don’t have to take the extra time to line up when you get to the airport and risk if the lines are too long or if you might miss your flight. You’re not standing at the carousel wondering if your bag is going to arrive.” he said. “If something happens with your flight, like a missed connection or a cancellation, it’s a lot easier to get re-accommodated if the airline doesn’t have to find your bag in the belly of a plane and switch it to another plane.”

SEE ALSO: The price of turkeys is on the rise this year, but here’s how you can save on that big holiday dinner

Another way to reduce stress is to sign up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, which Keyes said is particularly easy “if you have a credit card that’s going to cover the cost of those applications.”

“This will allow you to go through a much shorter security line, you don’t have to take your shoes off, if you skip checking a bag and have TSA pre-check, when you walk through the airport gates to the moment at your gate, they’re often about five minutes,” he explained.

But even if the TSA precheck line seems longer than the standard security checkpoint, Keyes advised staying in your lane.

“Even if the line is longer, it’s usually going to move a little faster, not only because you don’t have to take your shoes or laptop out of your bag, but also because the TSA line tends to have more experienced travelers who know what to do,” said. “Nothing against less experienced travelers, but it’s just going to take longer.”

If you don’t have TSA precheck, Keyes recommended checking to see if the airport offers the option to “allow people to schedule a time to show up at TSA, where you can essentially sign in, schedule it the day before, and show up at your specific block. .

“Your downside risk of a big delay is much lower if you’re on one of those scheduled times,” he said.

The best tip to easily rebook after flight delays or cancellations

“If your flight is canceled or you miss a connection, especially if there’s bad weather, a lot of people will call, so don’t stand in line at the airport to talk to a gate agent,” Keyes said. . “You also want to make sure you call the airline. But specifically call the airlines international number.”

This handy trick will bypass the US hotline. U.S., Keyes said, which most others would be calling too.

“If you call American Airlines’ UK number or United’s Canada number,” he said, “you’re much more likely to get through to an agent directly because they have far fewer callers and agents who are based internationally they can help your case. get rebooked same as US based agents.”

Hotel prices and offers for last minute holiday destinations

The team of experts behind travel app Hopper found that average nightly hotel prices for Thanksgiving and Christmas rose 14% from last year.

For hotel stays, Hopper experts advise finalizing reservations for Thanksgiving before the first week of November and for Christmas by the first week of December.

For travelers who can be flexible with schedule and location, Hopper said consumers can “save up to 25% by booking last-minute hotel vacations, especially in major cities.”

“Lower hotels [their] prices of remaining inventory in the month prior to your check-in date so you can find great deals in the days leading up to your vacation,” a Hopper representative said in a statement. “However, keep in mind that you will need to be flexible with hotel ownership and amenities to get a good last minute deal.”

The best days for holiday check-in

For those planning to stay at their destination for a few days, Hopper advised travelers to arrive the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving, rather than staying after the holiday.

The travel app also found that Black Friday check-in prices are higher than Thanksgiving itself, with some people shelling out $50 more for a post-turkey weekend getaway.

For Christmas, Hopper found that check-in on the holiday itself can be 11% lower than check-in on Christmas Eve.

As for New Year’s Eve, they noted that “hotel rates will be low until December 27th,” but after that rates will “go up about $30 per night.”

In general, according to Hopper, prices will be higher the week between Christmas and New Year compared to the previous week.

Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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