According to new data from Hotwire.com, 78% of Americans who plan to travel for Thanksgiving have not yet made their travel plans as of October 26. We’re hoping they’ve booked by now, but if you’re one of those crazy people waiting for the last minute to make your car rental, air reservation or hotel stay, we’ve got some tips to help you out.
The number of travelers who haven’t made reservations yet is actually less than last year (82%), but airfare and hotel prices have risen.
“Booking last minute travel can be risky during these busy times, but it’s not impossible to nab a deal. Procrastinating travelers are just going to have to be a bit savvier and more vigilant in order to score savings over the next few weeks,” says Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group, in a release.
Here are some of their tips (with our additions):
Book your plane tickets ASAP. Airlines started hiking fares up just after Halloween. This is not the time to wait for a deal. If you must search for a deal …
Consider flying into an alternate airport that can offer cheaper fares (try this for cars too!). Consider Oakland in place of San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale in place of Miami, or Baltimore in place of Washington, D.C. Seek out lower-cost airlines or those that have recently expanded routes to an area, as they’re likely to have more flights in case you get kicked off or the flight is canceled due to weather.
Avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, as these are the most expensive days by far. You’re travelers. We think you know this already, but just in case you didn’t … there it is again.
When booking hotels, your smartphone can be the best place to find a great deal. Many hotels offer increasingly bigger discounts to fill their empty rooms the closer you get to your stay. Hotels are typically less full on Thanksgiving than on other holidays, so you may even get a great deal by waiting.
[Image Credit: epSos.de]