By Robert Stitt
Thanksgiving is the start to the holiday season. It is also the start to the holiday travel season. Sadly, the travel often aligns with some of the country’s worst weather, largest crowds, stressed-out travelers, and high flight prices from airlines hoping to take advantage of needy patrons. While you may not be able to do much about the weather or crowds, you can avoid being one of those over-stressed travelers by planning your trip in advance and taking advantage of a few price saving measures.
Try these ways to save some money on flights over Thanksgiving:
Fare Alerts. There are several sites that will record your flight plans and send you a text message or email when the fare drop. You can log into sites or download apps like AirfareWatchdog and Hitlist.
Fares change rapidly and can change from tens to hundreds of dollars in the same day. By getting fare alerts, you can be altered as soon as the price drops into your range and then grab tickets before the fares rise again. While there is no guarantee that the fares will not go even lower, at least you can be sure you got the best price at the time.
Compare Sites and Clear Cookies. Different sites have different search algorithms and relationships with the travel industry. They also have different sales markups, fees and restrictions. Searching multiple sites simply makes common sense.
When you do search, be sure to clear your browser’s cookies. The airlines and travel sites track your visits. If you are frequently searching for a fare, they know you are getting ready to buy (and maybe are even getting desperate) so they will give you slightly higher fares. In the same way, they want new visitors to the site to stay and not go away to another site so they offer their best fares to them.
In order to trick the site into believing you are a first-time visitor, you need to clean out the cookies and clear the cache. You can do this by using a different browser as well. This means you can search once in Safari, another time in Chrome, and a third time in Explorer and get different fares each time. You just might be surprised what you find.
Choose Days Wisely. The Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are peak travel days. The airlines have no reason to reduce fares on these days because they know they will sell the seats. It’s best to leave a day or two early and/or return a day or two late. Not only do you get more time with your family or other loved ones, but you can save a ton of money on your tickets while traveling with less stress.
Jason Steele is a credit card expert for CompareCards.com. His advice, “Consider flying on the less crowded days, such as Thanksgiving morning itself. Or, you could leave early and return on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”
With some planning and a few tricks, you can keep your mind off of your pocketbook and on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.