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Looking to travel for the holidays? Here are the best times to find the cheapest flights

For many people, the holiday season offers the perfect time to travel. More days off from work, family getting together and even the weather can lead to people planning trips over the next few months.

As we all know that means airport lines will be longer than usual, and flights themselves a bit harder to come by. That will undoubtedly lead to more stress for some, but that’s kind of an accepted part of life this time of year.

At any rate, just because all that is true does not mean there are not some tips and tricks you can use to make the experience a little better. Certain to help is not only the knowledge of when the best time to buy is, but where you should look to go.

You should start looking into it now

According to research by Hopper, an app that is used for booking flights and hotels, a look at past data revealed some interesting and helpful trends. Like what, exactly?

Well, for instance, they say flight prices will change an average of 102 times between late September and Nov. 22, while Christmas flights will see their prices change about 152 times between the same time and the holiday.

Fun Fact: You can download Hopper for iOS by tapping here and for Android by checking out this link here.

Just because the prices change does not necessarily mean they will keep going up, of course, but the uncertainty that is set to transpire can certainly bring a pause before deciding to book a flight. However, that’s not all Hopper discovered.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, they noted flights now are averaging about $288 round-trip, with the prices dropping by $100 since August. Perhaps that makes sense, as they found prices started this summer about 16-percent higher than last year before dipping to below-2017 levels.

When’s the best time to shop for Thanksgiving flights?

Based off of last year, Hopper says the best deals for Thanksgiving flights will be found in late-September. The closer you get to the day you want to leave — like, 15 to 25 days before — you can expect a price increase of about $2 per day.

In the final two weeks before your departure date, however, the cost will rise by about $6 per day. If you really want to save money, you can leave on Thursday, Nov. 22 and return on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

If you’d rather not fly on Thanksgiving Day, though, they found the next cheapest day to leave would be on Monday, Nov. 19.


What about flights for Christmas?

Another popular time for travel, Christmas of course, is about a month after Thanksgiving which in theory gives you a bit more time to lock down your flights. Yet, you will face similar issues as is the case with Thanksgiving.

According to Hopper, domestic flight prices for Christmas are averaging about $320 round-trip, which is actually down nearly 15 percent from last year’s prices. Also when looking back a year, it seems the best prices for Christmas flights are found in mid-October.

Just as with Thanksgiving, if you are buying between 15 and 25 days prior to departure date you will see a daily price increase, only here it’s about $3 per day. In the final two weeks prior to your flight leaving, the number will rise to about $4 per day.

If you are looking to save some money, the best time to leave would be on Tuesday, Dec. 18, while your return date should be Thursday, Jan. 4. If you can’t be gone that long, the next cheapest day to come back would be Thursday, Dec. 27.

How did Hopper come to these conclusions?

Hopper says their app is able to predict future flight prices with 95 percent accuracy up to one year in advance of departure. It does so, and this study is made possible, by collecting billions of airfare price quotes every day to then be put into a historical archive.

In all, they have several trillion airfare prices over the last several years which, when combined with historical trends, give them the ability to predict how prices are likely to change in the future.

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