I really hate the trend that has become known as the “Christmas Creep” Every year it seems like businesses across the country start their marketing for the holiday season earlier and earlier in the year. This year I saw my first holiday-themed ad in September and it made me want to cry. All that being said I’m going to be writing about holiday travel before Halloween today but there’s a very good reason for that. If you anticipate that you’re going to be traveling for the winter holidays now is probably the best time to start looking at your options. With winter approaching, Conde Nast has a great article sharing some excellent air travel advice for the coming winter months. Here are some of the highlights:
The cheapest days of the year to fly. Early December and late January are typically when you’ll find some of the cheapest airfares of the year.
Book Presidents’ Day weekend in early December. Prices probably won’t come down much before then.
Try going to a cooler big city instead of a resort. You can get some great deals in the winter by opting to go to a city like New York, Washington DC or San Francisco because there is less business travel there in the winter.
Consider alternate airports. For example, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale are good substitutes for Orlando and Miami respectively in Florida. You may have a longer drive to your final destination but you’ll save a lot on airfare.
Schedule connecting flights out of Southern airports. Those airports are far less likely to experience weather related problems in the winter.
Fly early. Early morning flights are cheaper and have the best chance of going out on time.
If your flight is cancelled:
Be the first to find out. This increases your chances of getting an alternate flight that works for you. Flightstats.com is a good tool to use to get the most up-to-date information.
Have an alternate flight in mind before contacting your airline. You don’t want to depend on just the airline to find you the flight you want. Besides, telling them the exact flight you want will insure you get it faster and save everyone a lot of time.
When all else fails consider going to Vegas. If you know you’re not going to be getting to your destination for a while, Las Vegas is a pretty good place to wait it out. It has a huge airport with lots of flights, cheap hotels, and clear weather. Besides it’s better to be stuck in Las Vegas than the frozen tundra of Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis.
You want to avoid this fate at all costs.
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