When Is The Best Time To Book Thanksgiving 2023 Travel?

The summer travel season is officially wrapped, and now it’s time to start thinking about booking holiday trips, especially if you’re planning to fly around Thanksgiving.

First some good news: Thanksgiving 2023 travelers will feel some relief. Average airfares are hovering around $268 per ticket, which is down 14% from this time last year and a 7 percent drop from pre-pandemic 2019 prices, according to the holiday forecast from Hopper, a travel booking app. Rental cars are averaging $42 a day, which is 17% cheaper than a year ago.

But if you want to get in on the Thanksgiving 2023 travel deals, now is the time to book your flight, experts say.

Typically, the absolute best time to book holiday flights is in the summer, says Phil Dengler, co-owner of The Vacationer, a travel site. But you can still find some good travel deals for both Thanksgiving and Christmas 2023 at the end of September, Dengler says.

“I view Halloween as the cutoff date for getting a reasonable price on a Thanksgiving flight, but aim to get booked by the end of September,” Dengler says. “After Halloween, prices will increase considerably as Thanksgiving gets closer.”

Hopper’s travel analysts say that airfare costs between now and Oct. 14 will likely remain low, but volatile, meaning prices fluctuate day to day.

When is Thanksgiving 2023?

Thanksgiving this year falls on Nov. 23.

Historically, some of the busiest days at U.S. airports, according to Transportation Security Administration passenger counts, are Tuesdays and Wednesdays before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Turkey Day.

When are the Best Days to Fly Over Thanksgiving 2023?

In general, Google Flights can help you monitor flight deals, Dengler points out, and has filtering options so you can find the most affordable flight prices from a variety of airlines and airports.

If you’ve got flexibility to work remotely or have some PTO to burn before the end of the year, you’ll not only beat the airport crowds, but also have the best shot at reasonable flight costs if you can fly out before the week of Thanksgiving. Travelers will save about 20% on flights if they fly out the Thursday before Thanksgiving on Nov. 16, according to Hopper.

These are the best days to fly around Thanksgiving 2023, according to The Vacationer:

  • Sunday, November 19
  • Monday, November 20
  • Tuesday, November 21
  • Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day)
  • Friday, November 24 (Black Friday)
  • Monday, November 27
  • Tuesday, November 28

Fly Early in the Morning for the Best Deals

You can typically find the best flight deals on early-morning flights, says Dengler. But, as an added bonus, the earlier you fly, the less likely you’ll deal with delays and cancellations. He recommends booking flights in the 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. time period.

Best Places to Travel for Thanksgiving

Didn’t get to Europe this summer? Thanksgiving may be an ideal time to take the trip. Since countries outside the United States don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, you can find some great deals to European hot spots like Italy and France, says Dengler.

Airfare to Mexico and the Caribbean, both popular spots for Americans to escape to during Thanksgiving, remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.Here are some the best places to travel for Thanksgiving 2023, along with the average cost per ticket, according to Hopper:

  • Canada: $337
  • Antilles: $425
  • Mexico and Central America: $499
  • Europe: $591
  • South America: $630

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