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 Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.