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The holiday season will be here before you know it. Aside from planning what Thanksgiving sides to serve and what gifts to purchase for friends and family, there's another important decision looming— your holiday travel plans. AAA Travel released data this week that reveals the best time to book airfare for the 2019 holiday season. As it turns out, the time is right now! Based on three years of flight booking data, AAA Travel determined that Wednesday, September 25, is the best day to score deals on Thanksgiving flights, and Thursday, September 26, is when travelers should secure Christmas flights.

"Holiday travelers should make their plans now and begin booking their flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, September 25, for the best deals and availability," said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel. "Procrastinating travelers may be able to find last-minute deals on flights close to the holidays, as airlines look to fill their last few remaining seats, but flight availability for these peak travel weeks will be very limited by that time."

According to AAA Travel, the best day to fly for Thanksgiving is Monday, November 25, due to lower ticket prices (approximately $486) and fewer flyers than the days right before Thanksgiving. The Sunday before Thanksgiving has the highest ticket prices (approximately $564) but the fewest crowds.

For Christmas travel, AAA Travel found that most travelers fly two to four days before December 25. The least expensive, and lightest travel day, is Christmas Eve ($527 on average compared to $593-$639 for travel between December 21-23).

"Last year, AAA projected that 54.3 million Americans would travel over the Thanksgiving holiday and a record-breaking 112.5 million during the longer year-end holiday season," continued Twidale. "If those trends hold again this year, travelers are in for crowded airports and, possibly, longer wait times. Pack your patience and plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time at the airport to maintain that holiday cheer."

To make planning holiday travel as easy as possible, AAA recommends spending adequate time researching travel options and booking before October 27; consulting a professional travel agent; and consider purchasing travel insurance to plan for any unexpected hiccups.


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