Throughout the year, there are predictable peaks and valleys in travel demand and pricing. Travellers who study them can save money and have more comfortable trips.
As the holiday season approaches, these peaks
and valleys multiply — especially in the US, which celebrates Thanksgiving, Hanukkah,
Christmas, and New Years within a six-week time period. According to Expedia, most searching and booking for holiday
trips occurs during October, so with that in mind, here’s a road map to help
plan for the season:
1 to 17 November
As Thanksgiving week in the US approaches,
travel demand and pricing typically decline, making this a good time to
schedule business or leisure trips. However this is also a very popular time
for conventions, so be aware of major cities hosting large events where you’ll likely find crowding and higher
18 to 23 November
If you don’t have to travel in the US during this time, stay on the sidelines. During
the Thanksgiving peak, airfares soar and US airports become clogged
inexperienced travellers. However, it also means fewer Americans will be
travelling abroad that week, making it a good time to snag a cheap transatlantic business class fare.
24 to 25 November
Savvy travellers have learned to save time and
money by flying in on Thanksgiving morning for the feast, and then flying out
on Friday evening.
26 to 29 November
As US travellers return from the Thanksgiving
break, it’s time for big crowds. High prices. Big headaches. A perfect time for
a teleconference or a staycation!
30 November to 20 December
Early December is one of the very best times of
year for business or leisure travel just about anywhere in the world. Prices
plunge. Crowds go home. (Exception: New York City or London where holiday
shoppers keep hotels full and rates sky high.) If you are travelling on
business, clients are likely to be in good moods. On the leisure side, you’ll
find some of the lightest crowds and lowest prices of the year on cruises or at
21 December to 3 January
Christmas Day falls on Sunday this year, so
peak travel days begin on the Tuesday or Wednesday prior. Try to avoid
returning to the roads or skies until the Tuesday after New Years Day (also on
Aside from the threat of inclement weather,
January is also a fine time for business travel — it’s low season, so airfares
and hotel rates are down, crowds are thin, and the airport belongs to the road
warrior. You might even get a cherished upgrade.
Chris McGinnis is the business
travel columnist for BBC Travel