The recession in 2009 allowed for drastic price cuts and amazing deals on airfare, hotel stays and travel packages over Thanksgiving, but 2010 isn’t following the same pattern. If you’re planning on traveling over Thanksgiving weekend in 2010, or during the week of Thanksgiving, you’ll need to book your trip as early as possible to secure the best rates.
Many flight and accommodation packages to the major cities are already discounted on third-party sites including Travelocity and Expedia for Thanksgiving week, and some hotels are already offering Thanksgiving getaway packages at some great rates.
Here are some of the best ways you can save money on Thanksgiving travel in 2010:
1. Book an extended stay so that you arrive at least three days before Thanksgiving. Avoid the mad rush the day before Thanksgiving by arriving a few days before the holiday and secure lower hotel rates and airfare. You can also extend your trip past the Sunday after Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds and get a cheaper return flight.
2. Monitor airline flight sales. Many airlines, including JetBlue and Virgin America are already launching sales that don’t have blackout dates during Thanksgiving week. Sign up for e-mail alerts or just visit your favorite airline’s website regularly so that you can book your flight well before November. Keep in mind that many of these sales are priced per route, and may not include taxes and fees.
3. Consider a bed and breakfast or vacation home instead of a hotel. Many hotels and resorts are prepared to be booked solid through the second and third week of November in anticipation of Thanksgiving travelers, and will hike up their rates. Consider staying at a nearby bed and breakfast or renting a vacation home instead so that you can save money on accommodations. This can be a budget-friendly alternative if you’re not planning on staying with relatives or friends over the holidays.
4. Monitor prices a few times per week. Several third-party travel sites publish hotel rates across several weeks, and can give you some insight on when to expect rates to drop or increase. Others post last-minute deals and price changes on airfare and hotel packages on a daily basis. Sign up for alerts and start monitoring prices a few times per week in September and October so that you can get the lowest possible price on your Thanksgiving 2010 travel package.
5. Don’t count on last-minute deals. As Thanksgiving draws closer, you will be less likely to find a great deal at the last minute. It can be tempting to procrastinate your Thanksgiving travel plans and hope you can snag a last-minute travel package, but you may be missing out on some great deals that and sales that become available in early October.