The Best Time to Book Holiday Travel Is Right Now

Besides saving cash, you'll also have a better shot at ideal dates, flying times, and seat selection.

Everyone has a savvy shopper in their lives who is already halfway done with their Christmas gift list before even a single leaf has fallen. While the methods of hoarding gifts in closets and attics can seem a bit intimidating, preparing for the holiday season far in advance has its merits-and not just for presents to wrap come December. Going (formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights) recently shared insider tips on how to get the best prices for your 2023 December holiday travel plans. The most important piece of advice? Book right now.

Of course, timing is everything, and if you wait until deeper into the fall to book, say, your December holiday travel, it will be very tricky if not impossible to book¬†an¬†affordable flight. Of course, booking a last-minute September flight right now is also not particularly cheap. Booking in the opposite season will allow you to access prices that haven’t been as deeply impacted by the surge in travel demand this year.

This approach falls into what Going calls the Goldilocks Window¬†strategy. It’s that sweet pocket of time when you’re most likely to find cheap flights. For domestic flights, that’s typically one to three months in advance, and for international flights that window is even wider, at two to eight months in advance. Peak travel seasons mean that the Goldilocks Window for buying flights is more like three to six months ahead of your planned domestic travel, and three to 10 months for international travel. To break it down:

Booking holiday winter travel

  • Domestic flights: Three to six months in advance.
  • International travel: Three to 10 months in advance.

What I’m hearing from all these different numbers games? You really can’t go wrong with grabbing your flight at least three months in advance of your planned travel. To put it plainly, you should be booking your holiday travel right now or at least before the end of September-the longer you wait, the less likely you’ll be able to find the best price.¬†

Going also shared some of their flight deals that can be found if you start booking those Christmas and New Year’s flights right now:

  • Chicago to Berlin for $487
  • DC to London for $2,100 in business class
  • Dallas to Auckland, New Zealand, for $981 nonstop
  • San Francisco to Mexico City for $281

Another benefit of booking early? You’ll have more options to choose from. With demand for travel staying so high (Labor Day weekend just saw a record number of travelers), the winter holidays will probably be similar to this summer’s travel chaos. By planning far in advance, you’ll be able to have a better shot at picking your ideal dates, flying times, and even seat selection.

Overall, booking right now is your best bet for finding affordable flights. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics airfare is steadily decreasing right now. Especially for flights to Europe, the prices for fall and winter travel are remarkably cheaper than they were earlier this year. 

Don’t wait until the Halloween decorations are being put on clearance to book this holiday season’s travel-otherwise you’ll be paying much higher prices.¬†

Looking for more travel tips?

Whether you need help sneaking weed onto a plane, finding an airport where you can sign up for PreCheck without an appointment, or making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to when your flight is canceled, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for up-to-date travel hacks and all the travel news you need to help you plan your next big adventure.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on¬†Instagram,¬†TikTok,¬†Twitter,¬†Facebook,¬†Pinterest, and¬†YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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