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Thanksgiving 2012 Travel: Holiday Flight Tips & Hotel Deals

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Planning to fly home this Thanksgiving?  Better grab that ticket home now.  According to Priceline.com, airfare is already trending 3 percent higher than last year.

If you are looking to save make sure to buy early, as you get closer to the departure date prices can rise as much as 700 percent, says analysis from booking site Hipmunk.

Anyone dreading the obligatory family dysfunctional gathering may also consider staying somewhere other than Aunt Sally’s spare bedroom.  In this case you’ll actually want to go with the opposite strategy and wait until the last minute to book the room.  With so many people staying with family over the weekend many hotels will have availability, which can translate into last-minute Thanksgiving hotel savings.

One way to avoid long lines at the airport is to pick a less common flight time.  For example, if you really want to minimize the family stress, Peter recommends flying out Thanksgiving morning rather than the night before, and going home Friday instead of Saturday or Sunday. A shorter trip can make all the difference when it comes lower fares and less holiday related stress.

Also, try using a smaller, alternative airport for your flight, such as Burbank instead of LAX.  The lines will be much smaller and security faster to get through as they are not dealing with such high volume traffic. Savings can also come from alternative airlines.

For those who plan on heading back home for Christmas, start looking at those  air tickets now.  Decreased capacity means  prices have only one way to go: up. Those hoping to score a last-minute deal are going to be left out in the cold.  Studies show the cheapest days to fly are December 17, 18, and 25.

Last, but not least, plan ahead in regards to gifts that you plan on bringing.  Shipping  presents ahead of time is way less hassle than trying to stuff it into your luggage, or worse, your carry on. Pack lightly and you’ll minimize the costs of checking luggage or paying for overweight baggage.

For more Thanksgiving travel deals, tips and resources:

By Steven Knight for PeterGreenberg.com.

 

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