Crack the Code on Cheap Travel This Thanksgiving

 In News, Travel

1. Be flexible
The key to finding cheap Thanksgiving flights is to be flexible with your days and times of departure and arrival. If you can’t be flexible, then you aren’t going to get a deal. This is because the most expensive time to fly is when everyone else is flying too.

Keep in mind that most of the deals this year are going to be either the week before or the Sunday or Monday before (depending on the destination), Thanksgiving Day (November 27) and returning on Friday (November 28) or the following Tuesday (December 2) or better yet Wednesday (December 3) after turkey day. Here is an example of a flexible search. This is a great way to shop/compare your flight options.

Keep in mind the airlines are expecting the busiest days to be Sunday, November 30, and Monday, December 1. The best day to fly will be Thanksgiving Day (November 27).

2. Consider the time of day
Everyone wants to leave after work and school so when doing your flight search don’t put a specific time. Generally, the most expensive times to fly are peak business travel hours (8 to 10 am and 5 to 7 pm). Cheaper seats tend to depart early in the morning (5 to 7 am) or late in the evening (after 8 pm). NOTE: By leaving early in the morning you have the best chance of not getting delayed.

3. Alternate airports
Not only do you want to be flexible with dates and times but be flexible with airports too. For example, rather than flying into (or out of) Miami when going to South Florida, check out Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) — it’s 25 miles north and usually much cheaper. You can also check out West Palm Beach, which is another 49 miles away. For example, see the flexible search for flights from NYC to FLL below. 

4. Consider how many stops you can stand
Sometimes booking a flight that has a connection as opposed to flying nonstop can save you money. But you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. If it’s hundreds of dollars then yes, but if it’s just $20 do you really want to increase your chances of getting delayed or stuck in winter weather? And be sure to avoid making connections in airports that have a terrible on-time track record like San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare or all of New York’s airports. Here’s a link to an airport and airline scorecard to help you make a good decision.

5. Use these top search tools
With online travel booking at a feverish high, there are multiple websites that may be able to score you that epic deal you’ve been hunting for – so check several sites not just one. Top search sites to check include: Expedia, Priceline, Kayak and TripAdvisor. It not only saves you time but money.

6. Sign up for flight alerts
To avoid constantly manually check airfares and still potentially missing that peak day to snag the deal, then sign up for fare alerts. Many sites offer this service for free including and Here’s a chart that compares the leading airfare alert sites.

7. Use frequent flier miles or credit card points
It can be nearly impossible to use your airline frequent flier miles during the holidays ‘exactly’ how you want to unless you are flexible with dates or are willing to use double or triple the usual amount. But it’s always worth checking your points balances and calling to see what kind of deals you can swing. Even if you only end up applying some of your points balance to a flight it will save you money. 

8. Use the ‘hidden cities’ trick
This hidden city trick is against airline policy so you didn’t learn it here! But — if you search alternate airports and check flights that stop over where you want to go it may be cheaper to just buy that other flight to the wrong airport destination and just get off when you get where you want to go.

Keep in mind if you get off and ditch the 2nd half of a trip you should only buy a one-way ticket and do not check any bags or put in your mileage account numbers. This raises red flags with the airlines since doing this is against policy.

Use these top tricks to have a happy, safe Thanksgiving holiday… wherever your travels may take you.  ~Your TRAVEL team at SMART Cars

P.S. Don’t forget to book your holiday ground transportation early! Save 15% now through Nov 30th on charters 5 hours or more when booking by phone at 800-871-7627.


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