New Year's Eve Airfare Tips: Finding the Best Deal Possible

Tired of sitting on the couch watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin have tons o’ fun year after year? You too can be in Times Square this year – or anywhere you desire for New Year’s Eve – but you’ve got to get going (and check out the video below).

How to pack everything you need in a carry-on bag

Step One – Hurry

The clock is ticking. As of this writing (Dec. 12), there are less than three weeks left before the big day, and while it varies from airline to airline, most major carriers raise airfare prices within two weeks of departure. You often have more leeway with discount carriers (Frontier, JetBlue and more) but not always. Again, hurry. This is a relatively popular travel holiday so it’s highly unlikely you’ll see last-minute deals.

Listen: Rick Seaney has a few more tricks to save money.

What to do about canceled, delayed flights

Step Two – Know When to Fly

Like most holidays, the cheapest day to fly is the holiday itself, so if possible, fly these days:

  • Cheapest: New Year’s Day (Wednesday, Jan. 1)
  • Next cheapest: New Year’s Eve (Tuesday, Dec. 31)

Fly early enough in the day and won’t miss any of the celebration. Avoid flying the most expensive days which include the weekends before and after the midweek holiday. Many airlines will drop fares after the holiday period but most won’t do this until Jan. 6 or 7 (look for big price drops then, since those dates mark the start of one of the cheapest dead zones of the year).

Step Three – Where You Fly Matters

If you can take a hub-to-hub flight that last about a couple of hours or less, you won’t see any big holiday price hikes in airfare. Routes such as Boston-New York, Dallas-Houston, Los Angeles-San Francisco and more have a lot of daily flights and this competitions helps keep costs down.

Step Three – Extra Ways to Save

Skip the easy flight: Consider foregoing the convenient non-stop in favor of a connecting flight. Often, adding a stop (or two) to your itinerary can save real money but compare prices to be sure it does. In fact, compare prices anytime you shop.

Avoid baggage fees: Use a carry-on and save $50 round-trip on most airlines. If you must check a bag, try JetBlue or Southwest – the only two that don’t charge for checked luggage.

Step Four – Have Fun

Once you’re celebrating, stay out of the cockpit. You know what that means: Take a taxi or have a designated sober driver do the navigating for you.

Watch: Four tips for airfare shopping during the holidays.


Published: December 12, 2013