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September May Be the Best Month to Book Thanksgiving Travel

Fall must be around the corner because every week seems to bring a fresh Thanksgiving travel forecast.

New data from travel search site Skyscanner shows that September may be the best month to book, so holiday travelers should be thinking about it now. According to Skyscanner, the average price for Thanksgiving flights in September will be $429. Fortunately, the forecast price for October is only slightly higher at $439. Of course, that could change depending on bookings and other factors.

But while September may be the best month overall, the best week to book is apparently right now. Skyscanner says the week of August 27 is 7 percent cheaper than average. But if it’s too soon to set your plans in stone, the week of October 1 projects to be 6 percent cheaper than average.

This all begs the question: What is average? According to Skyscanner, the average price in 2017 was $528, and the majority of travelers who booked with Skyscanner paid in the $300-$400 range. This suggests that a lot of people booked some very high fares, possibly because they booked at the last minute. Skyscanner’s data shows that the “worst savings” will be found during the weeks of November 12 and November 19.

Which cities are hit hardest?

The report also highlights destinations with the biggest spike in fares for the holiday. To determine this, Skyscanner compared the average price for the week before Thanksgiving with the average price for the holiday week. The results aren’t terribly surprising as they are all popular destinations and major cities to begin with, but it’s illustrative to see where the biggest increases are felt. Our condolences to anyone visiting Miami for Thanksgiving:

New York $294.52 $421.1 42.98%
Las Vegas $253.04 $342 35.16%
Los Angeles $333.61 $438.94 31.57%
Chicago $255.34 $368.29 44.23%
Miami $229.66 $398.04 73.31%
San Francisco $336.29 $394.17 17.21%
Washington D.C. $293.81 $374.31 27.4%
Orlando $231.17 $358.1 54.91%
Denver $248.94 $324.81 30.47%
Atlanta $250.51 $371.31 48.22%

Thanksgiving obviously doesn’t affect international fares much because it’s a U.S. holiday, but Skyscanner did note a 45 percent spike in fares to Cancun during the holiday week. That’s a hefty price to pay for skipping town on the holiday and doesn’t even factor in the guilt trip you’re likely to get for ditching the family …

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Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you’ll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home. Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the Boston travel guide.

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