Hotwire.com, a discount travel site, reported that of those U.S. adults planning to travel for Thanksgiving this year, 82 percent have not booked their travel (e.g., airfare, car rental, hotel) as of Nov. l 1st), as of Nov. 1, according to a poll conducted online of more than 2,000 adults.
"So far, Thanksgiving prices have been pretty consistent with last year, but we're expecting increases to begin now as the 21-day countdown to Thanksgiving begins," said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group. "This year, airlines are following the advance purchase rule more so than in recent years, which means within the few weeks leading up to the holiday prices should start to increase more and more. However, with the right tips, travelers can still score some great deals on all their travel needs."
Hotwire recommends the following five tips to help last-minute bookers save money this Thanksgiving:
1. Book your plane tickets ASAP as airlines are expected to raise fares starting today. Airlines are enforcing the 21-day advance purchase window more this year than they have in the past. So, if you see a good deal, book it now.
2. Avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, as these are the most expensive days to travel. For the lowest pricing, try to fly out early on Thanksgiving Day and return the Saturday after the holiday.
3. Consider flying into an alternate airport that can offer cheaper fares. For example, consider Oakland in place of San Francisco, or Ft. Lauderdale in place of Miami. Many low-cost carriers like JetBlue and Southwest call these airports home, and this can translate into hundreds of dollars in savings.
4. Whether you're driving to your destination or flying and need a rental car, look for cheaper rates from opaque sites like Hotwire, or check out sites like Carrentals.com that offer a wider range of rental company options from smaller providers. In many cases you can find car rentals for as low as $13.95 a day.
5. Book a hotel, and do it last-minute. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the fact is most travelers stay with family over Thanksgiving, so hotels in many popular cities will have plenty of unsold rooms. With an over-supply of open rooms, they use Hotwire to help fill them at incredible discounts. Often the best savings can be found just three days from your arrival date.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus product on behalf of Hotwire from Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 2011 among 2,429 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.