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Cheap Christmas flights 2021

Get to your destination without zeroing out your bank account.

Whether it’s a white Christmas you’re after or festivities on the beach, book tickets for your December escape. And do it sooner, rather than later — because hands down, Christmas is an expensive time of year to fly.

Christmas flight deals

Up to 75% off travel deals

Search for Christmas flights

Compare fares during the holiday season from hundreds of booking sites and airlines by using the search below.

When’s the best time to book Christmas flights?

The best time to book a domestic flight to be home for the holidays is 61 to 90 days before Christmas, according to AAA’s most recent analysis of member flight booking data. This year that’s between September 26th and October 25th. The average price of tickets during this time is $551 —lower than if you book before or after that window.

Still you can still get a good deal around Thanksgiving — between 28 to 60 days before Christmas. The average ticket jumps slightly to $561.

Is it cheaper to fly on Christmas day?

Depending on where you’re traveling, it could be cheaper to fly on Christmas day.

However, you could save by traveling on Christmas Eve, according to AAA. It found that Christmas Eve is “the lightest travel day of the week,” and has the lowest average price per ticket compared to December 21st, 22nd and 23rd — about $527.

So check both Christmas Day and Christmas Eve flights to compare when you’re looking to book cheap holiday travel.

Flights within the US

To book cheap Christmas flights in the US, you’ll want to avoid departing between December 21 and 23, which tend to be the most expensive days to fly. Instead, consider scheduling your departure prior to December 21st, or on Christmas day. If you take an early bird flight, you might get to your destination in time for Christmas ham.

The actual cost of cheap Christmas flights can vary widely depending on your location and the airline you’re flying with. It’s worth toggling around to find the cheapest days for your situation.

Flights to international destinations

The rules for booking cheap international flights are similar — avoid the handful of days leading up to Christmas if possible, and book on the 25th for the cheapest fares overall.

Booking tips and tricks

“Cheap” and “Christmas” are a whole lot more compatible with these insider hacks.

  • Choose budget airlines. Delta may have free Wi-Fi and top-notch hospitality, but if you can deal with less legroom on-board a budget carrier, you’ll probably save some money.
  • Open a travel credit card. Some providers offer major perks, just for opening and using their branded credit card. If your credit score allows, this could save you hundreds.
  • Use Skiplagged. To beat the airlines at their own game, lean on Skiplagged, which helps you book just one leg of a two-leg trip for some of the cheapest fares online.
  • Sign up for price alerts. Some sites, like AirFareWatchDog or Hopper, let you sign up for notifications when the airfare you’ve been searching goes up or down. Keeping tabs on prices can help you strike when the price is low.
  • Snag that low rate when you see it. One thing is certain in the world of fluctuating airfare — last-minute flights the week before Christmas are much more expensive. When you find a fare that you can afford, we recommend snapping it up ASAP.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

Bottom line

Cheap Christmas flights aren’t completely out of reach, but it does take some thoughtful strategy and planning ahead to land opportune rates. After booking your flight, browse hotels to find a place to stay.

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