Traveling during the holidays can be hectic, but if you’re planning on flying on Christmas Eve, you’ll have to deal with stressed travelers that are all trying to get to their loved ones — and all at the last minute. Not only do more people travel during the holidays than at any other time during the year, but bad weather and other challenges can cause significant travel delays or flight cancellations.
It may even cause you to miss a much-needed connection; one that may cause an overnight stay or another delay. But just because you waited until the last minute to book your holiday flight — or work obligations have you arriving with only hours to spare before the Christmas festivities start — doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a poor experience. After all, millions successfully book and take last-minute holiday flights without issue. As long as you plan accordingly, your Christmas trip should be no different.
Best Time to Travel for Christmas
So, what’s the best time to travel for Christmas? It all depends on exactly when you travel. Give yourself a buffer and you’ll likely beat the holiday crunch, and it could also save you some money. However, there’s a world of difference between booking a last-minute flight and solidifying your holiday travel plans months in advance.
According to travel experts, booking your flight one to two months before you depart is the best way to get a good deal when you plan on traveling immediately before or on a holiday. That’s because as the holiday draws closer, flights are more likely to fill up, raising prices for the remaining seats.
In addition to planning, you’re also more likely to save money when you travel on the Monday before Christmas. This is true, unless, that Monday is the day before the holiday. In that case, you’ll likely pay more, and flying the week before could be a better option. Either way, it pays to compare rates — and especially days — as the right flight can represent significant savings if you shop around.
Are Airports Busy on Christmas Eve?
While flying on Christmas Eve is thought of as a big no-no because it’s just one day before Christmas, experts say that it’s the lightest travel day of the year. Sure, Christmas Eve flights may not dazzle you with tremendous savings over a trip elsewhere during the year. However, if you’re willing to travel on this undesirable and last-ditch day you could save a considerable amount compared to other flights during the Christmas week.
Combined with less hectic travel experience, this could mean the difference between a successful holiday trip and one that you’ll vow to never make again. Indeed, a cheaper flight and half-empty planes could be just what the doctor ordered for your Christmas travel plans.
Flights on Christmas Day
Because it’s the last possible day you can travel without missing the holiday itself, many travelers assume that a Christmas Day flight is the cheapest of all travel days around the holidays. But if you’re wondering if it is cheaper to fly on Christmas Day, you may be in for a rude surprise when you go to book your flight.
In fact, flights on Christmas Day tend to run about 20 percent more than Christmas Eve flights just a day before, and they’re much busier. Furthermore, Christmas Day flights are almost 25 percent more expensive than booking travel elsewhere in the second half of December. On top of an increase in price, you’ll have the added stress of traveling on the holiday itself.
That said, the days around Christmas Day, while cheaper, are still expensive compared to travel dates elsewhere during the year. You’re better off flying a week or two before Christmas and booking your travel months in advance if you’re looking to take advantage of deals.
What Are the Best and Worst Days to Travel During the Holiday Season?
So, what is the most expensive day to travel during the Christmas season? Well, it depends on what your criteria are. If you want to avoid the holiday crunch, flying on Christmas Eve may be your best bet. That’s because it’s the lightest travel day of the year — and it’s a bit cheaper than surrounding days. But if your goal is to save money, a flight towards the middle of the month is best.
Save even more by catching a flight earlier in the week — a Monday or Tuesday – because they’re typically better than flights that depart on a Thursday or Friday. These flights are infinitely better than weekend flights that come with heavy crowds and steep prices. In fact, the busiest travel days are December 18, 19 and 20, year-over-year, and the absolute worst is the Saturday before Christmas.
Make sure that you consider more than just your departure date. A return flight shortly after Christmas can be significantly more expensive than your flight out. Due to people needing to get back home for work or other reasons, it often gets overlooked. In fact, it’s the day directly following Christmas, December 26, that is the most expensive day to travel during the Christmas week. This means you could save hundreds by delaying your return closer to or after the new year.
Use TravelRefund for All Flight Compensation Needs
Whatever style of holiday travel you prefer, from early bookings to a last-minute rush that has you flying on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we know that things can go wrong, from simple delays to cancellations and overbookings.
For any of these reasons, you have rights under the EU flight delay compensation law known as EU261. Established in 2004, EU261 protects any passenger traveling from an EU city or to an EU city aboard an EU airline from significant travel delays, cancellations, and overbookings. The EU261 might even grant you up to €600 per passenger per flight.
It’s hard to determine whether the circumstances of your travel means you’re owed delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight compensation. It also doesn’t help that airlines are notorious for making this process as confusing and difficult as possible. Due to this, let us figure it all out and file a claim on your behalf.
We’ll take care of it all without you lifting a finger. The best part is that if we’re unsuccessful, you’ll owe us nothing. So what do you have to lose? Call or click to see how TravelRefund can help you with your EU261 claim.