Top 4 Holiday Airfare Shopping Mistakes

If you are still working on your holiday travel plans, I have some important advice for you: four things you should not do when shopping for airfare.

Sure, we have seen our share of airfare hikes of late, so finding relatively cheap flights is not going to be easy this year, but you can still save money by following the four tips below.

See More Tips from Rick on the Holiday Airfare Q&A

4 Things NOT to Do for Holiday Travel Plans

1. Do NOT fly on the busiest travel days.

The reason is simple: the busiest travel days are the most expensive days to fly. Here is the “do not fly” list of days for each holiday:

  • Thanksgiving: the Wednesday before the holiday (Nov. 23) and the Sunday and Monday after (Nov. 27-28)
  • Christmas: the Monday after Christmas Day (Dec. 26)
  • New Year’s: the Monday after New Year’s Day (Jan. 2)

2. Do NOT procrastinate.

Every day you wait to buy your holiday airfare will add another $5 per day to the total cost of your plane tickets. Need I say more?

3. Do NOT pay a bag fee.

Adding another $50 to the cost of your round-trip ticket is not smart; adding $200 in bag fees for a family of four can be crippling. Either use a carryon, fly Southwest or JetBlue or use an airline-branded credit card that gives you checked bags for free.

4. Do NOT fly nonstop.

In most cases, connecting flights can and do cost hundreds of dollar less than direct flights, especially during the busiest travel days of the holidays.

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Published: October 26, 2011