“If you find a fare you want, book it right then. Don’t wait for deals — they don’t happen anymore,” says Drusch. A study by FareCompare found that the best time to book was Tuesday at 3pm, because new sales are announced Monday and other airlines normally match by Tuesday afternoon.

“Without a doubt, has the most robust, flexible travel search on the web (and it powers Kayak, Hipmunk, etc). You can even search prices for up to 30 consecutive departure dates,” says Dan Lack, the travel guru for Popexpert. (Just select “see calendar of lowest fares” when doing your search.)

Be as flexible as possible with your dates. 

Chang says that though Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays typically have the least expensive flights, “for holiday travel, cheaper fares can be found on actual holidays — instead of the day before or day after.”


“The good news about this year’s holiday season is that it is longer than usual with both Christmas and New Year’s falling on Wednesdays,” says Chris McGinnis, travel blogger for Best Western’s blog “The full season will be over two weeks long, which means more wiggle room for travelers — compared to a season when Christmas and New Year’s both fall on, say, Sunday.”

Xmas tips

“Certainly at Christmas, you have presents,” says Liz Dahl, founder & President of Boomer Travel Patrol. “Remember not to wrap them if you are traveling with them, because security will make you unwrap the gifts. Send them in advance by mail, UPS or FedEx. I shop at stores that will gift wrap and send the packages out for me — great time saver as well.”

Also, here’s a quick reminder of the carry-on rules: liquids, aerosols and gels must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or less bottles, and placed in one quart-sized, clear, zip-top bag; one bag per passenger. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk exceeding three ounces are allowed, but must be declared for inspection. “It never hurts to have a doctor’s note for special diets and medicine,” says John Walton, Director of Data at Routehappy.


Bring extra chargers and/or an external battery or solar charger.

Nothing’s a bigger drag than having your electronics die just when you need them to check in or remember your aunt’s address. While having your charger helps, having an external battery or solar charger can be even more useful if you can’t find a plug.

Ugh… If your flight is delayed …

“In case of a weather delay, call the airline or go to a lounge to be rebooked by a less harried agent than the customer service agent at the airport,” Grimmer says.

Carolyn Paddock, the founder and CEO of In-Flight Insider, recommends having a credit card with concierge benefits — like the Amex Platinum card. “If I book my tickets through their travel department, then if something happens and there’s a long help line at the airport, I can call the concierge and they’re already working on it,” she says.

If you have kids in tow, Walton suggests finding another place to wait. “The gate is not always the best option. Sometimes a family restaurant or kids’ play area is en route. Google for ‘play area’ with your airport’s name and discover a hidden gem, like the airport-themed play area at Philadelphia.”

FWT travel assist