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AAA: Tips for booking flights home for the holidays

How to navigate crowds and plane ticket prices while planning ahead for holiday travel.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's never too early to start planning for the holidays, especially when you're traveling. 

AAA's travel analysis reveals Sept. 25 marks the best time to start booking your flights home for the holidays. 

“Procrastinating travelers may be able to find last-minute deals on flights close to the holidays, as airlines look to fill their last few remaining seats, but flight availability for these peak travel weeks will be very limited by that time," said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel in a release. 

According to AAA's release, travelers start booking their Thanksgiving flights from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25. 

The release states, on average, prices range from $454 to $564 depending on the time a traveler books their flight.

Besides traveling on Thanksgiving Day, the release advises flying the Monday of Thanksgiving week, which is Nov. 25 this year for the lowest average ticket. price. 

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To avoid huge crowds, the release states travelers can opt to fly on the lightest travel day, the Sunday before Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. Consequently, this day is also the highest average ticket price. 

For Christmas flights, AAA suggests starting as early as Sept. 26 and finishing all booking by Oct. 27 at the latest.

The release states average prices for Christmas flights range from $488 to $692. 

AAA found the best day to travel for Christmas holiday is actually Christmas Eve, with a ticket price of $527. This day is also the least crowded day for Christmas travel. 

If you're looking for an even lower price, AAA suggests booking your flight seven to 13 days before actually traveling for Christmas. 

However, the release states flight availability is likely to be very limited but this is also where you will find the overall best average pricing at $488. 

AAA found the busiest air travel day is the Saturday before Christmas on Dec. 21, with a ticket price of $639. 

“Last year, AAA projected that 54.3 million Americans would travel over the Thanksgiving holiday and a record-breaking 112.5 million during the longer year-end holiday season,” said Twidale. “If those trends hold again this year, travelers are in for crowded airports and, possibly, longer wait times. Pack your patience and plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time at the airport to maintain that holiday cheer.”

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