Travel Picks: Top 10 tips for holiday travel

Fri Dec 2, 2011 4:16pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Silver bells, sleigh rides, menorahs and mistletoe are on the not-so-distant horizon.

But before the festivities get underway, there are flights to catch, security lines to endure and delays to tolerate. With that in mind, online travel adviser Cheapflights.com (www.cheapflights.com ) have come up with 10 top holiday travel tips to help you navigate the festive season. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. For procrastinators: Book last-minute

Typically we encourage travelers to book flights between 60 and 90 days before an anticipated date of departure. That ideal time-frame has now passed, leaving many fliers scrambling to find holiday fare deals. But all is not lost! Data shows that airlines this year were perhaps a bit too aggressive with pricing early on, leaving seats still to be filled. Lucky for procrastinators, flash sales are popping up left and right and - better yet - the best is possibly yet to come. Start scanning now, as early December bookers could save the most on holiday flights.

2. Travel alternatively

As ongoing advocates of both alternative airports and alternative destinations, our stance holds true with the season of cheer upon us. For fliers with a set destination in mind, taking the time to compare nearby airports based on affordability could mean major savings. Boston residents, for instance, should consider TF Green International in Providence or Manchester-Boston Regional in New Hampshire if fares out of Logan are too steep. And the same is true for arrival cities. Folks eager to get away for a beach vacation should look for the deal rather than the destination. Instead of Miami this Christmas, how about a beach town on the Gulf like Fort Meyers or Sarasota? The bottom line: do your homework.

3. Fly on the holiday

Flight searches by date often tell an interesting but consistent story: flying midweek, early in the day or late at night saves travelers cash. 'Tis true on holidays, too. Many times the lowest fares go to travelers willing to fly on the holiday itself, whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Eve. Plus, the cheer can be felt 35,000 feet in the air for flexible fliers, as some airlines are particularly festive. Lufthansa in Christmases past has cooked traditional German meals and decked cabins with wreaths and decorations so passengers - and flight crews - can share in the celebration.

4. For gift givers: Shop online   Continued...