Whether it's for Thanksgiving, winter break, or a speedy escape from a Trump presidency, you may be in need of a plane ticket within the coming months. However, if you're new to this whole jetsetter-adulting thing, it's likely that you have yet to book your holiday travel arrangements… or even figure out how to. We've analyzed what you need to know to book your holiday airfare.
One rule of thumb is to allow holidays to be your marker for when to buy your tickets. A general trend for airfare, according to Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper Research, is that airfare prices rise steeply about three to four weeks before the travel date.
Because Halloween is about four weeks before Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is about four weeks before Christmas and other year-end holidays, booking more than four weeks in advance allows you to get the best bang for your buck.
Like when you wait until the day before the deadline to start your essay, you may expect some sort of last-minute miracle to happen. While many people hope that airlines will drop their prices in the weeks or days right before the flight to fill those empty seats, don't count on it.
Because of the incredibly high travel demand of the holiday season, airlines are still able to get people to pay the full price for those seats without having to lower costs.
It's similar to the wait for a laundry machine on a Sunday afternoon. You first check the situation and are woefully disappointed. But then you check back every so often and *bam*, a miracle happens.
Keep track of the flight prices, as they change often. Lots of apps, like Hopper, offer price-tracking for flights and will notify you when they reach a low. Embrace the technology.
Now, I'm not telling you to skip your classes here (although that may be what I'm doing), but it's a well-known fact that flying on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterwards will cost you big time.
Your best bet here is to fly out after your Tuesday classes and pray that your Wednesday classes get cancelled, or to fly out on Thanksgiving day and hope that your parents save you some turkey.
No matter what time of year, always shop online for plane tickets in incognito mode. When cookie-spewing sites notice you constantly checking on prices, they're likely to raise them especially for you. Incognito mode tricks sites into thinking you're a new user every time. No fare hikes.
Have any other tips on hacking holiday airfare? Comment down below, Facebook message us, tweet us, or Snapchat us at @CUspectrum.
Mariella Evangelista is a Barnard first-year and a Spectrum staff writer. She is adult enough to admit that her mother gave her the idea for this article after harassing her about making Thanksgiving travel arrangements. Love you, Mom. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org to praise her for being a great daughter.
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