**Related Video Above: Last year, some airline passengers faced rocky holiday travel as COVID, staffing issues canceled hundreds of flights**
CLEVELAND (WJW) — With Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial last weekend of summer, behind us, it’s probably time to start thinking about your holiday travel plans.
For those who have to catch a plane to their destination, the good folks at the Vacationer travel blog have some suggestions of how to avoid the heavy crowds and costly ticket prices.
The most important thing to note, Vacationer says, is to get your tickets purchased before Halloween. The airlines know you need to fly home in time for the turkey or to open presents under the tree. And even if you purchased your tickets in June, which Vacationer says is the cheapest time, costs are always heightened around those times … because they know they can.
This holiday is always on a Thursday in late November, this year falling on Nov. 24, meaning the busiest travel days are the Wednesday before and the Sunday after.
So Vacationer wants people to consider looking at flights the three days prior and Thursday itself for the way there and then flying back on Black Friday or the three days after Sunday.
Christmas Eve (Dec. 24 every year) falls on a Saturday this year and Christmas is Sunday. Two weekend days. Not too shabby.
Vacationer says to look for the following dates to the least busy and cheapest to fly out:
- Sunday, Dec. 18
- Monday, Dec. 19
- Tuesday, Dec. 20
- Saturday, Dec. 24
- Sunday, Dec. 25
And then fly back on the following dates:
- Wednesday, Dec. 28
- Thursday, Dec. 29
Other tips include searching on Google Travel for the best airline optimization and to always look at nearby airports for price comparisons. Vacationer suggests going through the airline to book your flight, rather than a platform like Orbitz. That way if there are cancelations you’ll be working with the airline directly.
Despite all of these tips, expect the flight to be more expensive than other times of the year. Those who can should also look into driving or taking a train.