Is it the Right Time to Book Winter Airfare? Experts Weigh In


Key Takeaways

  • The travel industry expects a busy 2023 holiday season with increased air travel post-pandemic.
  • Booking winter holidays early is advised due to rising last-minute bookings, aiming for affordability.
  • ‘Goldilocks window’ suggests 3-6 months for domestic, and 4-10 months for international flights.
  • Flexibility in dates and holiday travel may lead to cheaper, less crowded flights.
  • Considered ideal for international travel bargains due to domestic travel prevalence.
  • From now to mid-September for winter holiday deals, balancing prices and schedules.

The travel industry has bounced back significantly after the pandemic, and experts predict a busy holiday season. Air travel is back in full swing, with 2023 witnessing record-breaking numbers of travelers. While airfare has been decreasing over the past year, airlines are expected to offer more affordable flights, avoiding the excessive prices seen previously.

When to Book Your Winter Tickets

According to a CNN report, while it may seem early, experts recommend planning your winter holiday travel now. There has been a surge in last-minute bookings post-pandemic, which can result in travelers missing out on deals. For international flights, it’s best to book by the second week of September, while domestic flights should ideally be booked between the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.

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The ‘Goldilocks Window’

The report noted that the best period to secure the cheapest winter holiday flights is often called the ‘Goldilocks window.’ For domestic flights, this is usually between three to six months in advance, while for international flights, it could be four to ten months out. During this window, it’s essential to start monitoring flight prices.

The Dangers of Waiting Too Long

There are a limited number of flights during the holiday season, meaning desirable times and routes may sell out or significantly increase in price as November and December approach. Therefore, experts advise booking Thanksgiving flights by late August or early September at the latest, and Christmas flights should be booked by Thanksgiving at the latest.

Tips to Save Money on Your Airfare

The report noted that the dates you choose to travel can significantly impact your airfare. Comparing prices for different departure and return combinations can help you find a deal, and traveling on the actual holiday can result in cheaper and less crowded flights. If possible, flying out as far before the holiday and returning as late as possible can yield savings.

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Thanksgiving: The Best Week for International Travel

While popular for domestic travel, Thanksgiving week is often overlooked for international travel. However, this is one of the best times to secure international airfare deals, as most Americans travel domestically during this period. For instance, a roundtrip flight from New York to Rome via Air Canada was available for only $552 from Sunday, November 19, through Tuesday, November 28.

Holding Off – But Not for Too Long

Waiting for the summer vacation frenzy to end before booking winter holidays can be a strategy, especially when determining how much time off one can take. However, the best deals for the winter holidays will likely occur between now and mid-September.

What We Think

The resurgence of travel post-pandemic brings opportunities but also demands early planning. The ‘Goldilocks window’ offers a strategic timeline for booking flights, ensuring affordability and preferred schedules.

Waiting too long risks higher prices or limited options during peak holiday periods. The tip to consider Thanksgiving week for international travel bargains is a savvy insight.

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While waiting for the summer rush to subside could be beneficial, seizing the best winter holiday deals is advisable between now and mid-September. This proactive approach could secure both savings and preferred travel schedules.

Learn more in the entire CNN report.


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