2013-12-19 / Local & State

Travel Tips For Holiday Visits

Thousands of people take to the skies come the holiday season. High fares do doubt await holiday travelers, who also can count on higher baggage fees and fuel surcharges. Buying tickets early can help offset some of those costs, but many travelers may not know where they'll be spending the holidays until the last minute, leaving them at the mercy of the airlines.

Waiting for last-minute airline sales can be tricky, especially during the holidays when everyone needs to travel in a specific date range. Airlines continually evaluate just how many seats they have already sold to determine prices on reduced fare seating. Getting a good deal or being gouged may come down to a variety of factors, but buying early when flying during a heavy travel season is often the best way to go.

Airlines rarely discount tickets during the holiday season, when demand is especially high. Therefore, booking as soon as you know your travel plans increases the liklihood you can get the flight you want and not have to make concessions. In addition to booking early, there are other ways to save some money and arrive relatively jolly for a holiday visit.

Travel midweek. Flying on a weekday is often less expensive than flying on a weekend. Some travel experts say flights on a Tuesday or Wednesday traditionally offer the lowest fares.

Consider an alternate route. Choosing connecting flights in travel hub cities may cost less than direct, nonstop flights. While from flight to flight may be less convenient, it's likely to cost less money.

Ship your gifts. Rather than paying high fees for extra checked baggage, ship your gifts or have them directly shipped to your loved ones when buying online.

Book in mid-November. Some travel experts say that Christmas travel is at its cheapest during the middle of November. If you can arrive early at your destination then you can also save. Experts suggest flying before December 17 can earn travelers the best deals.

Choose an unpopular flight time. Early-morning, overnight and dinnertime flights are less expensive than more popular travel times.

Arrive on Christmas. It's often less expensive to travel on Christmas, when surcharges may be waived and flights may be less packed.

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