After December 4, prices start to get a little scary.
Even though historical data suggests the best time to book flights for Christmas and late-December travel is during the week of November 21, it's still not too late to find savings on your trip home for the holidays (or far, far away from home).
According to Kayak, flight prices are expected to rise after Monday, December 4, meaning today is your very last day to get a great deal. (Skyscanner corroborated this, suggesting travelers could save an average of 4.93 percent by booking now.)
Kayak noted that after December 4, flight prices could increase between 5 and 17 percent through Christmas Day.
There are also a few ways to ensure you’re getting the best rate possible when booking a last-minute holiday flight. Kayak recommends that travelers check to see if the cost of two one-way flight tickets are cheaper than the cost of a round-trip reservation.
If you’re flying, but also need to book a hotel, look at package deals offered by booking sites. According to Kayak, packages can save travelers up to 32 percent.
And if you’re not beholden to a location this holiday season, then maybe it’s time to fly south for the winter. Kayak spotted great deals on trips to destinations like Atlanta and Dallas this holiday season, with median airfares approximately 30 percent lower than the median airfare for North America, in general.
Alternatively, if your heart is set on a winter wonderland for the holidays, travelers might consider heading to Canada. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary all snagged a spot on Kayak’s list of top 10 wallet-friendly North American flight destinations.
There are other ways to save on late December travel, too. Hipmunk advises travelers to avoid flying on December 20 (the most expensive day for travelers going home for the holidays). And if you don't mind flying on Christmas, consider traveling while everyone else is unwrapping gifts: Hipmunk's holiday report shows that Christmas Day is the least-busy for departures (only 1 percent of bookings) and also the least expensive day to fly, with savings of up to $100.
If you're planning instead to travel for New Year celebrations, it's also time to get those bookings squared away. According to Kayak, New Year’s Eve travel is already trending, so be sure to book your flights before December 26. Those who book after December 26 can expect flight prices to increase by at least 9 percent every day, according to the site.
New Year’s Eve happens to be the cheapest day to fly around this holiday, Kayak observed. Otherwise, bargain hunters should plan for a short getaway: the next best time to find affordable airfare is for flights departing the day before New Year’s Eve, and returning on New Year’s Day.