Winter Holiday Travel: How to get the best deals
PayPal Shopping Specialist Claudia Lombana gives us her tips on how to score the best holiday travel deals, when to purchase and when to fly.
Click here for the exclusive discount from PayPal merchant, Pleasant Holidays.
HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIPS 2012
When to buy: As of July 2012, we are already seeing some airlines offering deals and sales into November and early December. That means it is not too early to start looking. If you find a good deal, snag it. Whatever you do, don’t wait too long; trends show passengers pay the lowest prices if they book at least six weeks before their flight.
We can likely expect to see lower prices in the early fall as well. Since 2006, most airlines have offered the lowest holiday airfares during the first two weeks of October. Set up price watch alerts on sites like AirFareWatchdog.com, Hotwire, Farecompare, and Expedia. Many airfare price drops last less than 48 hours, so travelers need to be ready to jump when a fare falls.
Best Time and Day to Buy:
Tuesday’s at 3 p.m. Eastern; Studies show that’s the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for travel because it’s when the most seats are available.
Cheapest Day and Time to Fly: Wednesday. According to a recent study, Wednesday is the day with the most seats and supply available meaning they can be released at the lowest price point. Other low-cost days include Tuesday and Saturday. The most expensive days to fly are Friday and Sunday. The red-eye or first flight in the early morning is typically the cheapest.
Fly on a holiday:
Consider travel on the day of a holiday. For example, flying ON Thanksgiving day versus the day or two before you can score big savings. A comparison of traveling on alternate dates to and from major cities shows a savings of up to $200.
Just one seat:
It’s a common and sometimes costly mistake to search for multiple seats with airlines. Why? Let’s say you’re traveling with a party of four, the computer reservation system will give you the highest price of the four tickets in your search. So if three seats cost $200 each, but the fourth is $240, the $240 price will return when you search. Search for individual flights first to see what’s out there.
Avoid Surcharges and fees:
Many airlines have imposed holiday surcharges. Making airfare and hotel purchases in the fall as opposed to waiting until closer to the holidays is the best tactic to avoid these charges. In addition, many airlines charge extra fees for a variety of things, from checking baggage, having overweight baggage, receiving pillows or meals, and getting aisle or exit row seats. Make sure to be well informed about your airlines' fees.
Don’t lose money or get ripped off:
If there is any variable that could mean plans change, something such as a sick child, a family emergency or a work conflict, BUY travel insurance. It is well worth the extra $20 - $50 to ensure the hundreds you’ve spent on travel don’t go to waste with a non-refundable ticket.