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AAA Travel just announced that Sept. 25 – Oct. 27 is the best time to get reasonable fares on Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares.

5 tips for joyful holiday travel

‘Twas the season before the holidays, when all through the house

Not a reservation was made, by me or my spouse;

Logistics were overwhelming, that is quite fair,

But these helpful holiday travel tips will help get you there!

Are you planning to visit grandma for Thanksgiving, heading home for the winter break, or dreaming of defrosting your feet on a warm beach? If so, now is the time to plan your vacation and book your reservations. AAA Travel just announced that Sept. 25 – Oct. 27 is the best time to get reasonable fares on Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares. Even dreaded holiday travel can be joyful if you follow these five travel tips.

1.Determine your budget

While dreaming of your next getaway, stay realistic when it comes to your finances. Your budget will guide you when it comes to choosing your destination. Planning in advance works in your favor because many hotels, car rentals, and travel agents can help you take advantage early-bird attraction offers. List the attractions you’d like to visit, then check their websites and social media channels for admission prices, discounted multiple-attraction rates, and when they’re open.

2.Pick your destination

Are you looking to get away from it all and dive into the ocean or some fresh pow? Cancun, Mexico, is ripe for beach-going, scuba diving, and lush jungle hikes; while Finland offers a picturesque winter wonderland full of ski resorts in December.

Are you looking to join or avoid crowds? Many European countries, such as Germany, Spain, and Sweden, showcase Christmas markets throughout the month. Other popular destinations like the Louvre in Paris will have much shorter lines. Lastly, think of your destination in the context of who is traveling with you. Is it a solo trip, couples vacation, or fun for the whole family? Get inspired by the AAA top destinations for this year’s holiday travelers.

3.Reserve your activities

Once you’ve decided on where and when now the nitty-gritty begins. Make hotel and rental car reservations ahead of time to ensure you have a place to sleep and a way to get there. Plus, early bookings are typically less expensive. From your “must-do” list, book your tickets to take advantage of availability and advance pricing. Sacrificing some spontaneity for the top items on your list to avoid long lines and save money may be worth it, especially if you’re making reservations for the whole family or a large group.

4.Book your flights

Knowing the best time to purchase airline tickets seems like a sleight-of-hand shell game. Whether you plan to fly across the county or across the ocean, clever timing can help you get the best travel deals. Domestic holiday travel is best booked in late September or October. The cheapest days to travel are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, and the most expensive days are the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas.

5.Prepare for departure

Airports during the holidays can be challenging, but with some extra preparation, you can save yourself some time and aggravation. Double- or triple-check all travel documents are with you and check-in online to avoid long lines before you leave home. If you’re bringing a carry-on, adhere to TSA’s strict 3-1-1 rule (3.4 ounces or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic zip-top bag; 1 per passenger). Allow yourself even-more-than-typical extra time to navigate traffic while getting to the airport, and dealing with inevitable delays once you’re there. Show up a minimum of three hours prior to your international flights and two hours prior to domestic flights.

Are you interested in planning an international holiday vacation? Download this free AAA guide to international holiday travel, including 2019’s top destinations and how to plan and save!