The Experts have spoken: airfare over Thanksgiving and Christmas are on track to reach their highest point in the last 5 years. 

Blame many of the same forces that made summer travel so costly this year: pent up demand from people not traveling over the last 2 years is a large contributor, along with higher jet fuel prices and the increasing cost of labor. Plus, travelers are keen to use up their pandemic-era travel vouchers, which in turn is allowing airlines to boost their prices even more. 

It’s not just your flight home for some turkey and gravy that’s on track to be pricier: even hotel rooms are significantly more expensive than last year–a whopping 32% price hike. 

This holiday season, domestic round trip fares will be on average 31% higher than pre-pandemic prices. Traveling across the pond? Expect to pay 26% more during the yuletide season.

Experts have observed an interesting new trend since the pandemic: people are leaving booking to the last minute, planning trips closer to their departure dates. This may work in the off season, but for the upcoming hot travel months, it’s a surefire way to spend a fortune. 

But, there’s good news: even if you want to spend the holidays with your family in the US or abroad, deals can be found so you aren’t shelling out significantly more than usual. Now is the time to actively track prices. Book no later than the week of October 10th for both Thanksgiving and Christmas travel–generally, the sooner the better. 

Another good hack for snagging holiday tickets at non-holiday prices is leaving the Monday before Thanksgiving or on the holiday itself and returning Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. 

Likewise, try heading out on Christmas vacation on the Monday or Tuesday before December 25 and returning the Tuesday or Wednesday after the holiday–you’re likely to see some big savings. If you’re able to return on January 3, according to new data from Hopper, that could amount to a savings of 20%.  

Experts are predicting that with people booking early and popular routes selling out, we’re bound to see a real surge, real soon. Take this email as a cautionary warning: if travel is on the horizon, secure your tickets before the end of the week to lock in the lowest prices you’ll get this holiday season.

If the very popular NYC to LAX route is on your holiday agenda, now is the time to lock in your business class tickets at non-holiday prices. $1600 roundtrip Business Class on Alaska Airlines for $1400 sounds pretty good to us, especially for December 23 to January 3rd travel dates. Those same dates can get you $1600 roundtrip Business Class nonstop tickets to Mexico City from New York on American Airlines–a steal given the time of year. 

Some extra reading for the travel-obsessed:

People are freaking out over how dirty these airplanes are. 

United Airlines and Emirates announce a once unthinkable partnership. This NYC woman is getting some time behind bars after horrible conduct in the skies.