Before I travel anywhere, I tend to do a lot of research online. I check multiple sites (although I basically live on Kayak.com), compare prices, times of flights, stopovers, etc. I change the dates, tinker with the airports, and finally come up with the best itinerary for hard earned dollars (or in my most recent case, credit card points).
So when I was discussing potentially going away over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I did some research. Here’s what I found (and already know):
- Traveling the week of Thanksgiving is insane. It is the most traveled week and busiest week for airports in the U.S. Expect long lines, delays, packed flights, you name it.
- Due to all that aforementioned goodness, prices tend to be quite high on nearly every route. There are however ways to avoid the lines and high prices if you are flexible.
- If you can, fly on Thanksgiving Day, instead of before. I know that not all Jewish American Orthodox households actively celebrate Thanksgiving at home with big feasts. (I know this because growing up we would always go out for Turkey Shwarma. We weren’t being unAmerican, my parents both grew up very European that’s all.) If you have one of those families (like mine) that just doesn’t throw a huge Thanksgiving feast every year, and would relish 3+ days away from home, considering leaving on the holiday itself. Ditto for Xmas and New Years.
- If you can be even more flexible with work, take off a day or two and don’t return back until Tuesday or Wednesday the following week. Why? Flying back on Sunday or Monday morning is both expensive and just as insane as traveling before Thanksgiving. By midweek, prices have dropped and the crowds have dissipated.
As I write this on Sunday November 13th, less than 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, I did a few searches on Kayak for flights originating from NYC to Miami (a popular holiday destination for us NY Jews). Here are the price results (all prices listed are roundtrip with taxes as of today):
- NYC – MIA: Tuesday 11/22 – Sunday 11/27 — Cheapest Flight: $608 with 1 Stopover each way. Cheapest Nonstop Flight: $777
- NYC – MIA: Wednesday 11/23 – Sunday 11/27 — Cheapest Flight: $706 with 1 Stopover in one direction. Cheapest Nonstop Flight: $860
- NYC – MIA: Thursday (Thanksgiving) 11/24 – Sunday 11/27 — Cheapest Flight: $634 with 2 Stopover one way, and 1 Stopover the other. Cheapest Nonstop Flight: $693
- NYC – MIA: Thursday (Thanksgiving) 11/24 – Tuesday 11/29 — Cheapest Flight: $268 with 1 Stopover each way. Cheapest Nonstop Flight: $289 !!!!
As you can see, flying on the holiday itself, and avoiding returning on the weekend will drop your costs by more than 50%. Obviously, you need to have some flexibility in your life to take advantage of this, but if you’re savvy enough, you can make it happen!
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