Good News, Thanksgiving Travelers: Booking Later Will Be Fine

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Conventional wisdom and a lot of statistics have shown that booking your travel well in advance is usually the best way to get a good deal. But for travel this Thanksgiving, an analysis by one travel site suggests that procrastinating won’t cost you — unless you wait to the very last-minute.

With less than three months to go before Thanksgiving, for those who have to jet to their destination, it’s usually about the time to start worrying about getting a plane ticket. But the travel site Hopper studied what happened in Thanksgiving 2013 and found that the prices you’ll pay now won’t really change until 10 days before your departure.

So, you could join the planning types and buy a ticket now, well in advance, or you could wait. And those who wait will have plenty of company — whether it’s to decide if heading off to the in-laws is something you really want to do, to find out if you can get time off, or if you just can’t make a decision. Fewer than 40 percent of those seeking Thanksgiving travel information even bothered to look before October, Hopper found.

Ticket Prices Are Down, Sort Of

So far, prices are headed in the right direction for consumers. This year, tickets are averaging 14 percent less than they were last year, Hopper found.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll be cheap. Flights during the Thanksgiving holiday last year average about 35 percent more than tickets were selling for during the non-holiday period in November.

There is one caution to those who decide to wait a bit too long: Not being able to get on the flight you want when you want.


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