Book holiday travel now to save hundreds

We ve barely said goodbye to summer and hello to fall, but this is actually the best time to start thinking about your Discount Holidays © holiday travel plans. Booking flights now for Thanksgiving or Christmas may save you hundreds of dollars. Priceline.com recently released data showing the best times to fly around the holidays and found that in some cases, flying on peak days can double your fare.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving falls on Nov.

26 this year. Traditionally, the worst day to fly is the day before Thanksgiving. Fly on Nov.

25 and you will likely pay the most expensive fare and have to deal with the biggest crowds. You ll also want to avoid flying the weekend before (Nov.

21 and 22) or booking a return flight between Nov.

28 and 30.

For your best chances of scoring a deal, depart on Nov.

19, 20, 23, 24 or 26. Return on Nov.

26, 27, or Dec.

1. You stand to potentially save hundreds of dollars when you pick an itinerary among these dates. Priceline looked at a sample itinerary: round-trip New York to Tampa, Fla. A Nov.

19-27 itinerary saw some of the lowest fares in a range of $290-$333. Switch your New York to Tampa trip to Nov.

25-29 and your fare could cost $628-$670.

Christmas

Christmas falls on a Friday this year, which means expensive flights and crowded airports the weekend before (Dec.

19 and 20), Dec.

23, and the weekend following (Dec.

26 and 27). If you re looking for a deal, depart on Dec.

21, 22 or 24. Return on Christmas Day, or anytime between Dec.

28 and 31. There s not as much of a price difference for Christmas as there is for Thanksgiving. The ranges still go high.

For a Dec.

21-29 itinerary from New York to Tampa, you ll pay between $341 and $682. Choose less desirable dates, travel Dec.

23-27 and you re looking at $483 to $720. Whether you re traveling on a peak day or not, time of day can have a dramatic effect on price. Priceline suggests choosing flights that depart between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Midday flights from 11 a.m.

to 4 p.m. will be more expensive. The most expensive flights are during peak business travel hours, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you re not ready to commit to a flight, that s OK, you still have time.

Prices tend to go up around mid-October, so be sure to book before then. You may want to set up a price alert on a site like Kayak or Airfarewatchdog. The Hopper mobile app also offers advanced price monitoring, which alerts you if prices drop or are expected to rise. The price prediction feature will let you know if you should book now or wait for a better price. If you are concerned about booking months in advance and want to purchase insurance, make sure you buy from a third-party carrier.

Also, read that fine print because there may be existing condition clauses and other loopholes.

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