This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

We’re huge fans of Google Flights. It’s the TPG team’s first stop when it comes to booking any paid travel, and it’s also a great resource for zeroing in on the fantastic flight deals we share on a daily basis.

In 2016, the Google Flights team saw searches for Thanksgiving travel increase significantly around mid-October, so assuming you’re booking flights within the next few weeks, the site’s tips might save you some cash.

1. “Avoid the busiest travel days.”

image002

Sometimes this can’t be helped — if you only have off on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, flying on an off-peak day might be out of the question. But if you can travel on, say, the Saturday or Sunday before the big day, then return home on Black Friday or the Saturday that follows, you’ll get to fly with lighter crowds and lower fares.

2. “Prepare for busier airports.”

image003

There’s a common theme here — travelers head to warmer climes in November, so with the exception of Boston, Chicago and New York City, the hottest destinations tend to be in the South. More flyers also means more frequencies, though, so you might be able to find affordable flights to some of the busier destinations too, especially those that are served by many airlines. Consider alternate airports as well — if San Francisco is where you’re headed, look at flights to Oakland and San Jose, too.

3. “Get away instead of going home for turkey.”

image004

This is easier said than done, of course — especially if big group dinners are a thing in your family — but if you’re able to hop the pond or head to a less popular destination over Thanksgiving week, you can save a bundle and avoid running into other Americans abroad, too. For example, on peak days the cheapest nonstop flights between New York and San Francisco will run you just over $600 round-trip, and that’s only if you’re willing to take a redeye. A trip to London will cost you the same, including the UK’s infamous Air Passenger Duty. You may find better award availability for international flights as well.

4. “Book your flights before expected price increases.”

If you’re used to paying $300 for a transcon flight that includes seat assignments and carry-on bags, you’ll need to accept that it’s simply not going to happen for Thanksgiving week. According to Google, if you’re planning to begin your trip on November 23, for example, expect fares to jump on November 1, November 8 and once more on November 15. You may find airfares to fluctuate on different dates in practice, but a good rule of thumb is that fares will increase 21, 14 and again 7 days before departure.

You might get lucky if there’s loads of availability within a day or two of your flight, but if you need to be in a certain place on a certain date, that’s probably not a chance you’re going to want to take. If the fare — or award rate — works within your budget now, this is likely the time to pull the trigger.

5. “Ring in the new year with a vacation abroad.”

image005

This is essentially the advice we received in #3, but this time we’re talking about Christmas and New Year’s. Google Flights’ top trending hotspots are listed above, and they’re worth considering if the price is right, but you might want to use the map tool to find a less popular — or more affordable — destination, instead.

Where are you headed for Thanksgiving and New Year’s in 2017?

Featured image of Waikiki by Duane Walker via Getty Images.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.