When Is It Best to Travel for the Holidays?

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According to Forbes, 115.2 million Americans move over for the Holidays. While getting together with the ones you love on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve sounds lovely, doing it may be tricky. The end of the year is the busiest time for airports, so it may get uncomfortable to travel. If you’re looking to get home for the holidays in the most practical way possible, here’s some insight on traveling during the jolliest time of the year.

Best and Worst Days to Fly for the Holidays

Thankfully, many flying companies offer a variety of schedules every day. The trick is knowing the key days to book and which to avoid.

Best Days to Travel

Best Departure Days

Choosing the best departure days to travel during the holidays is about leaving some days away from the date. If Thanksgiving is celebrated on a Thursday yearly, getting there two to three days earlier is best.

The same goes with Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For example, if you’re available to travel a week before Christmas, many people will still be at work, so there will be less traffic.

  • Thanksgiving: Monday, Tuesday
  • Christmas: December 18, 19, 20
  • New Year’s Eve: 28 or Friday, December 29


Best Return Days

When choosing a return day, Sundays are the most recommended days to do so, especially during Thanksgiving. There’s a not-so-ideal choice, which is to return on the same holiday. For example, traveling on December 31st is generally cheaper and more comfortable. If you’re in a hurry to travel, this is the best choice for cero traffic at the airport.

  • Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Thursday, Friday (Black Friday), Monday, Tuesday
  • Christmas: December 28, 29
  • New Year’s Eve: December 31st, January 3, 4

Worst Days to Travel

Worst Departure Days

The closer the date, the more complex the travel will be. Wednesdays before Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas and December 30 are not only the most crowded days, but a ticket can be more expensive.

  • Thanksgiving: Wednesday
  • Christmas: December 21, 22 and 23
  • New Year’s Eve: December 30 and the morning of December 31

Worst Return Days

If you want to return home with peace and quiet from the holidays, avoid dates following the celebration. When returning on busy days, you may experience delayed or canceled flights or even lose your connection.

  • Thanksgiving: Sunday
  • Christmas: December 26, 27
  • New Year’s Eve: December 30 and the morning of December 31

Tips for Traveling During the Holidays

Traveling always requires scheduling and budgeting. However, since November and December are high-demand seasons for flying, they need more patience and planning.

Here are some tips to brace yourself for holiday traveling:

  • Seize traveling apps and websites. Traveling apps and websites are good for comparing prices and schedules and tend to offer holiday deals to get better prices.
  • Consider flights with connections. If you’re under a strict budget and traveling far, a flight with a connection can be an excellent choice to lower the price.
  • Travel light. Although you select good dates to travel during the holidays, airports can still be crowded, so there’s a higher chance they struggle with luggage, which can delay your schedule.
  • Be flexible with your loved ones. You may want to avoid the most desired dates to travel, so consider getting together with your family or friends before or after the holidays.

How to Book Travels for the Holidays

The major tip to travel safely and peacefully during this time of the year is to book early. Ideally, you should book your Thanksgiving and Christmas flights many months before. We suggest booking domestic flights at least one to three months in advance. You should book international flights at least two to eight months in advance, but the earlier, the better. You should book earlier for the holidays to guarantee a desirable route, time, seat, and price.\