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nov 11 2011

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Booking Tips

A line of planes preparing to depart Newark International Airport (Courtesy Michelle Baran)

If the Thanksgiving travel season crept up on you, you're not alone. According to a survey commissioned by Hotwire.com, as of last week, 82 percent of Americans hadn't booked their Thanksgiving travel yet.

So, what does the online booking company recommend? Well, don't fret. But do get busy because prices are only going to continue to go up between now and turkey time.

Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group, said airfares start to inch up within three weeks of the holiday.

"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," said Bason.

Here are some of Hotwire.com's last-minute Thanksgiving travel tips:

1) Book your flights ASAP. The minute you see a decent air deal, book it.

2) Avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, as these tend to be the most expensive days to travel. For the lowest prices, try flying out early on Thanksgiving Day and returning the Saturday after the holiday.

3) Consider flying into an alternate airport that can offer cheaper fares. For instance, consider Oakland instead of San Francisco, or Ft. Lauderdale instead of Miami. Many low-cost carriers like JetBlue and Southwest fly to these secondary airports.

4) It's okay to book your hotel last-minute. "This may sound counterintuitive, but the fact is most travelers stay with family over Thanksgiving, so hotels in many popular cities will have plenty of unsold rooms," Hotwire.com notes. With an over-supply of open rooms, they use sites like Hotwire to help fill them at discounted prices. Some of the best savings can be even just a few days prior to your arrival date.

As of Nov. 1, 82 percent of U.S. adults planning to travel for Thanksgiving this year, hadn’t booked their travel, according to an online poll of more than 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Interactive.

More from Budget Travel:

Thanksgiving Travel Myths Debunked

Hotels Honor 11-11-11 With Deals

3 Lesser-Known Travel Websites Worth Knowing

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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