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What's the Best Time to Buy Plane Tickets for Thanksgiving Travel?

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Q. Is it too soon to buy airline tickets now for our family's annual Thanksgiving trip?

A. No, most certainly not. If you’re planning to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, purchasing your airline ticket now might save you some money.

In general, buying tickets earlier is better, especially when you're booking for a busy travel season. You’ll get the lowest holiday airfares if you book your travel before early September. And even the fares you find later in September tend to be better than those you can score in October or November.

In terms of the costliest timeframe, in the past, the analysts at Google Flights have seen that prices rise in October, then spike a week before your November departure date.

If you’re having trouble finding inexpensive fares, bear in mind that flexibility can help. While you may be locked in to your holiday arrival date, when you plan to return home may be even more important in determining the ticket price. If your travel dates are flexible, planning to return after the Thanksgiving weekend ends (say, on that Tuesday or Wednesday) could help you score a cheaper ticket.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.



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