Making Christmas travel plans may not be top of mind while you make the most of the summer sun, but, if you want to get the best deals on holiday season flights, the time to book is fast approaching. In fact, the best time to find the lowest fares to your favorite destinations starts right now.
To help you find the cheapest flights, we took the 20 most popular destinations for Christmas week travel and crunched the numbers to figure out when you should book for the best prices.
Whether you’re going home for the holidays or using the time to get away, here’s when you should book your flight to these top 20 destinations.
The best time to book your holiday flights
26 weeks before Christmas (Week of June 25)
25 weeks before Christmas (Week of July 2)
23 weeks before Christmas (Week of July 16)
Mexico City, Mexico
21 weeks before Christmas (Week of July 30)
20 weeks before Christmas (Week of August 6)
19 weeks before Christmas (Week of August 13)
San Diego, California
17 weeks before Christmas (Week of August 27)
16 weeks before Christmas (Week of September 3)
Los Angeles, California
14 weeks before Christmas (Week of September 17)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
13 weeks before Christmas (Week of September 24)
Quick and dirty tips for planning holiday season travel
Plan ahead: Do you always head home for the holidays? Or do make a point to use that time to travel overseas, either to visit family abroad or to take a break from the cold weather? Decide on your plans early so you can book as far in advance as possible and have access to the most affordable flights.
Be flexible: Do you know you’ll want to spend your holiday season with family and friends, but have some flexibility in terms of where those celebrations take place? Be flexible with your destination and your travel dates, so you can jump on the best prices you see. Is the only thing you want for Christmas a warm-weather getaway? Focus less on a specific destination and more on what type of trip you’d like to take so you can see what deals are available.
Fly off-peak: Christmas is on a Monday this year, as is New Year’s Day, so the Friday and Saturday before each holiday are going to be the most convenient times for travelers to fly. Aim for middle of the week and early morning or late night flights — in other words, flights that are less convenient — to avoid crowds and get better prices. For more information, read up on how to find a cheap flight.
Be prepared for winter weather: Smooth sailing during the snowy season is never a guarantee. Know what travel insurance options are available to you through the airline, your credit card or your travel rewards program. Create financial and logistical fall back plans so you don’t find yourself stuck unceremoniously digging into a turkey dinner in a hotel room somewhere when you’d rather be decking the halls at home. Check out the rest of our tips on how to prepare for winter travel.
Missed the window above? Not to worry. Here are some additional tips for finding a Christmas travel deal. Have a go-to tip we missed? Share it in the comments below.
*This data is based on averages from departure points across the U.S. and is intended as a guideline only. Check the latest up-to-date prices and search for flights at Cheapflights.com.