It is difficult to find cheap airfare during the holidays. While we come out of the peak summer months, the demand for air travel remains high. It's likely to go up again in the days surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

The best way to find the cheapest airfare for the year-end holidays is to book early.

Can you find a place to avoid paying too much?

Finding good holiday airfare

A JetBlue plane sits at the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to get a good deal. You have maximized your potential for finding a good deal if you aren't tied down to a particular location, time of day or airline.

The holidays are expensive because of lack of flexibility.

Many Thanksgiving travelers have schedules that dictate they must leave during the afternoon or evening hours on Wednesday to go to their family's home away from home. There's not much wiggle room for alternative itinerary options.

Scott Keyes, founder of airfare- tracking site Scott's Cheap Flights, said that most people don't associate Thanksgiving with cheap flights.

You may be able to find better deals if you skirt those trends.

You can find cheap airfare using the deals page.

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Finding the cheapest places to travel for Thanksgiving

Travelers wait outside San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, 2021. DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

You are not the only one who has never flown overseas for Thanksgiving.

It may seem counterintuitive to travel to a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving.

The whole point is that it is outside the box.

Keyes said thatThanksgiving is the best week to travel internationally. People traveling domestically are not traveling internationally.

Thanksgiving prices for international flights may be cheaper than usual because they don't spike at the same rate.

Keyes said it was part of an effort to make sure airlines filled their planes.

Do you want to skip Thanksgiving?

If you want to get your money's worth, you may want to take an additional day or two off of work during the holiday season. As you consider Thanksgiving travel, it might be a good option.

We found a lot of what we were looking for.

New York travelers: Italy


Keyes suggests visiting Italy over Thanksgiving. He points to cheap fares out of many U.S. cities and the start of Christmas markets in the country before costs rise.

The Star Alliance's Portuguese carrier, TAP Portugal, has been offering cheap flights to Europe in recent months. You will make a stop in Lisbon with few exceptions. If you want to see a second city for the price of one, you need to double check, but there are some fairly convenient itineraries.

You can leave Newark/Liberty International Airport at night on Thanksgiving week. The last leg of your trip to Rome will take place three hours before you arrive in Lisbon.

It takes four hours to get to Lisbon on the return trip after Thanksgiving.


On Thanksgiving night, I was able to find departures on Aer Lingus with a stop in Dublin for $484.

San Francisco travelers: Lisbon, Portugal

You might consider traveling to Portugal itself if you take advantage of the fares offered by Lisbon-based carriers on your way to another city in Europe.

Some of the fares from the U.S. East Coast have led to a decrease in the cost of travel to Lisbon.

If you have to work through the Wednesday leading into Thanksgiving, the Sky Team/ Flying Blue partners itinerary is a good option. You will leave mid-afternoon on Wednesday for Paris. You will be on your way to Lisbon after a two-plus hour connection in Paris.


There is a chance to see two cities for the price of one. You will arrive around dinner time in Amsterdam. This will allow you to have dinner in the city before you leave for San Francisco on Tuesday.

The round-trip costs $385.

It's worth watching how things go this fall at Amsterdam'sAMS after chaos this summer and recently. Thanksgiving in the US does not coincide with a major holiday in the Netherlands.

Washington, DC, travelers: Dublin

It would be better to have an easier itinerary. Out of Dulles International Airport, there are many options to Europe.

You can fly nonstop on Aer Lingus to Dublin for $383 per person. After the holiday, the return flight is nonstop.


Dublin may not be the type of destination you would usually associate with Thanksgiving, but, hey, it is different.

If you can stomach skipping Thanksgiving with the family, you can fly to Europe for the same price as it would cost to fly to the Midwest. Bring your family with you for a truly unique Thanksgiving overseas.

What constitutes a good deal?

It isn't an exact science when it comes to determining which cities are offering good deals during the holiday season. It may be relatively inexpensive to visit a destination from one U.S. city, but prices could be high if you travel elsewhere.

One unscientific approach would be to look at average airfares for the holidays and to see if you can find round-trip prices that are well below that mark.

Hopper projects domestic Thanksgiving airfare at $356 round trip, up 41% compared to the year before, and domestic Christmas airfare at $467 round trip, up 37%.

It would be great to find prices that are below the marks.

Finding the cheapest places to travel for Christmas

An airport decorated for Christmas. VISIONKICK/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

It is more difficult to say the same about the end-of-year holidays if there is still hope of finding decent deals.

It is difficult to get cheap Christmas fares at this time. In June and July they were available.

I searched domestic and Mexico/Caribbean flights in and out of the U.S. It's often the case that you can really, really save if you're travelling between major airline hubs, but especially around Christmas this year.

If Hopper's average domestic fare for Christmas is $467, flights between two hubs within the east or west can ensure you pay far below that mark, and in some cases not too much more than you might have paid over the summer.

New York travelers: Flights to DC and Chicago

You can find round-trip airfare between New York and Washington, D.C. for less than $168 on a legacy U.S. carrier. During Christmas travel time, it is important to find options at that price level.

You will leave after the close of business on Friday, December 23, and arrive at Dulles by dinner time. This late-night flight is one of the return options.


Travelers moving between New York and D.C. may consider the train. Air travel was the winner in the race over the summer.

If you are willing to travel on the holiday itself, you can save money on flights to Chicago. Most of the day is spent in New York before you depart from Newark/Liberty International Airport for O'Hare International Airport. Christmas Eve. If you want the best fare, return on December 30. The itinerary is on United.


Other East Coast and Midwest cities: Flights to New York

There are flights from New York to the city that are below average. I found flights to New York on United for $178 out of Atlanta, $165 out of D.C. and $218 out of Chicago.

West Coast travelers: Flights between San Francisco/Los Angeles and Phoenix/Seattle

In the same way flights between eastern and western hubs help keep your trip costs low, flights between western and eastern hubs help keep your trip costs high.

Travelers from Los Angeles can fly to Phoenix on Christmas Day for $198 and return on New Year's Eve.


Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the days leading up to New Year's Eve, Los Angeles and San Francisco flyers can go to Seattle for $238 per person. The flights were on one of the airlines.

Finding the cheapest places to travel for New Year's


There are more options for New Year's travel than there are for Christmas travel. Whether you can find a good price depends on where you come from.

Despite the spectacle of the ball dropping in Times Square on New Year's Eve, flights in and out of New York to and from other east and Midwest hubs were the same as for Christmas.

Some other options were also taken into account.

Nashville: Good prices from East Coast and Midwest cities

Nashville is a less expensive place to visit around New Year's than other U.S. cities. You can pay less for flights if you enjoy country music as the year ends.

This $168 round-trip itinerary between JFK and Nashville on Delta is a great deal.


On those days, flights out of Chicago went for over $150.


D.C., Atlanta and Miami had good deals.

Denver: Moderate prices from West Coast

With domestic round-trip averages soaring far above $300 and $400 for the holidays, prices well below $300 to Denver could be a slightly less expensive option for New Year's.

You can leave Los Angeles International Airport early on December 28 and return on January 3 for $257. The price is more out of San Francisco.


Other holiday deals

There are a lot of other options for holiday travel in the year 2022.

The prices are likely to change a lot in the coming days and weeks. It is a good idea to book it or find a way to hold the fare if you like something.

New York to Turks and Caicos at New Year’s

$337 is not the best fare between New York and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is better than many other tropical destinations during the holidays.

Continue on to Providenciales after a stop in Charlotte. On the 4th of January, the layover is shorter. It is necessary for you to request time off from work for the first few days of the new year.


Los Angeles to Salt Lake City for New Year’s

If Denver doesn't appeal to you as a skiing option, there's an alternative.

Delta Air Lines flies from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City on New Year's Eve. You will return to Los Angeles on January 3.


D.C. to New Orleans at Christmas

This itinerary is for people who like jazz music, gumbo and christmas. On Christmas Eve, you will leave Dulles and arrive in New Orleans at 10:00 pm.

My stay at the hotel was in New Orleans.

You will get the best price if you return on December 28.


New York to South Florida at Thanksgiving

Hopper's domestic Thanksgiving round-trip average is $129 lower at $233.

You will leave early on Tuesday and arrive in Fort Lauderdale in the morning. It is possible to return to New York on the Monday after Thanksgiving.


Bottom line

Holiday travelers wait in line in Atlanta, Dec. 2021. BLOOMBERG/CONTRIBUTOR/GETTY IMAGES

The best way to secure a deal is to lock it in when you see it, because prices will fluctuate and you don't know what will happen.

You can't get a $150 transcontinental flight at Christmas. If you're looking to save money on holiday travel this year, it's a good idea to think outside the box and use tools like Google Flights to find the best prices.