Brace yourself for holiday travel season.
The holidays mean food, family ... and standing in airport security lines for hours on end. Millions of Americans fly somewhere for the holidays, and especially on Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re flying to visit mom or taking a last-minute vacation, Google Flights has a few tips to help make holiday travel planning a little easier this year.
The first step — if you can manage it — is to avoid the busiest travel days. These are the days that are most likely to have long lines at the airport, flight delays or cancelations. And frankly, we’re pretty predictable when it comes to Thanksgiving travel plans. Google predicts, based on previous years, that Friday, November 17, Wednesday, November 22 and Sunday, November 26 will be the busiest days to fly.
No matter when you fly, you'll also want to prepare for busier airports. Airports in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Miami tend to be the busiest. If you can, try for alternate airports. If you can't, arrive early and pack extra patience.
You could also avoid some of the domestic chaos by taking an international trip. Not feeling a family trip this year? Consider Europe, which is ideal during the fall.
And it's not too early to start thinking about the end-of-year holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s. At this time last year, end-of-year flight searches were already increasing worldwide, according to Google. Book your flights for these holidays before December to save some money.
And if you’re not ready to book yet, take advantage of price alerts. Google Flights offers them, as do Hopper, KAYAK and likely your search engine of choice, if it's none of the above.