With the upcoming holiday season, you’re likely looking for cheap flights to get away from the daily grind. And it’s worth comparing! We found that a family of four (two adults and two kids aged 15 and over) can save a massive $1,592 on flights by choosing cheaper days to fly.
We’ve crunched the numbers and determined the best and worst dates to fly this holiday season. We collected info on about 125,000 flights for the three busiest domestic routes for November 17, 2017 to January 7, 2018.
The prices collected were the cheapest for a seven – day return trip for:
- Chicago to New York City
- Los Angeles to San Francisco
- And Los Angeles to New York City
Whether you’re traveling to be with family on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s Eve,the more flexible your dates, the cheaper flights you’ll find.
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 23
Traveling on Thanksgiving day, Thursday November 23 could be your best bet. Flights peaked on Sunday November 19, prior to Thanksgiving. The average cost for the cheapest flights for these routes for Sunday November 19 was $525, compared to $218 on Thursday November 23.
Based on our data, you could save an average of $307 for a return flight on Thanksgiving day rather than Sunday November 19. This could potentially save a family of four (two adults and two kids aged 15 and over) $1,228!
For seven-day return trips you’ll see prices peak again on Sunday November 26 in anticipation for travelers returning home. As we are only looking at a seven-day return trip, this is a huge contributor to the peak in prices on Sunday November 19.
Hanukkah: Tuesday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 20
Flight prices drop in the weeks following Thanksgiving weekend, and pick up again the first day of Hanukkah, Tuesday, December 12.
If you want to get away for Hanukkah, the most expensive day to fly is Sunday, November 26, with the lowest average price across these three domestic routes of $424. Wednesday, November 29 is the cheapest day with an average cost of $128. That’s a saving of $296 per adult, or $1,184 for a family of four.
During this eight-day holiday, prices reach an average high of $379 on Friday, December 15, while the cheapest day is on the first day of the holiday, Tuesday, December 12, at $173 on average.
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Christmas: Monday, December 25
Between December 21 and Christmas day, we found December 23 is the most expensive day for flying. The the cheapest flights in this period average $339.
Save money by traveling on Christmas Eve. Travel on December 24 can average $225 — that’s an $84 savings.
New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
New Year’s Day falls on a Monday this year. For those keen on seeing the ball drop on Times Square or to celebrate with friends and family, the cheapest day to fly after Christmas is Thursday, December 28, with an average cheapest fare across these routes of $272.
Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the most expensive day to travel is Boxing Day — December 26, with flights averaging $351. That’s a savings of $79 or $316 for a family of four.
So when is the best time to travel these holidays?
- Best overall day to fly: December 6
- Worst overall day to fly: November 19
Though flying around Thanksgiving is generally more expensive than Christmas, we found that for the lowest seven-day trips within a week leading up to the holiday, Christmas is more expensive. The lowest average return flight before Thanksgiving is $218,flying on November 23. Whereas, the week before Christmas, the lowest average is $255 per adult, flying on December 23.
You could save an average of $37 per adult ticket to travel for Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. That’s a saving of $148 for a family of four (two adults and two kids aged 15 and over).
If your dates are flexible around the holidays, the best day to travel is December 6, according to our study. The lowest average price is $127 for a seven-day return trip. Compared to travel on the most expensive day Sunday, November 19, where you could spend $525, you’ll see an average saving of $398 — $1,592 for a family of four.
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Top cheapest days to fly return for each route these holidays:
Chicago to New York
- December 5 – $78
- December 6 – $78
- January 4 – $78
- January 6 – $78
- November 29 – $84
- January 7 – $88
- November 28 – $93
- December 12 – $93
Los Angeles to San Francisco
- November 28 – $68
- December 6 – $68
- December 12 – $70
- January 4 – $72
- December 2 – $77
- December 5 – $77
Los Angeles to New York
- November 29 – $224
- November 30 – $234
- December 4 – $234
- December 5 – $234
- December 6 – $234
- December 7 – $234
- December 2 – $236
- January 7 – $274