3 tips to survive this year's crazy holiday travel

A passenger uses his mobile phone as he stands in front of a time table on April 16, 2010 at the airport in Frankfurt.

The holiday season is coming up, and for a lot of people that means booking plane tickets to visit family around the country. 

Jason Clampett is one of the founders of Skift.com, a travel news website, and has some tricks to booking tickets during the holiday season. 

1. Know your trip 

For most of us, the first thing we do is log on to sites like Expedia or Kayak and compare fares. What are we doing wrong? 

“I think the first thing people should do is make a list of exactly the type of trip they’re making,” Clampett says. “Who’s going with them, what they’re bringing with them. It sounds kind of simplistic but as airlines have unbundled all their fees, what could cost you $200 round trip if you’re traveling solo, might cost you $375 round trip per person if you’re taking luggage and gifts and checking those skis and golf clubs.” 

2. Comparison shop 

Once you have the details of your trip figured out, it’s time to tackle that price question. And nothing really beats the power of the internet on this one, since you can use sites like Hipmunk or Kayak to comparison shop. Clampett likes using those to get a sense of around how much a trip will cost. 

“The nice thing about the meta-search sites, what they do is they look at many many other sites out there,” Clampett says. “So they will pull discounts from Priceline and American Airlines.” 

3. Buy ahead -- but not too far ahead

If you still haven’t bought your holiday tickets, Clampett suggests doing it now, since available seats are starting to run out. In general, Clampett suggests buying plane tickets for the holiday season in early Fall, “because they might know more things about capacity and trends and they might add a new route along the way. Southwest might go into a city and all the fares might go down. You can plan too far ahead.”


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About the author

Carmen Wong Ulrich is the former host of Marketplace Money, APM’s weekend personal finance program.

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