Money-Saving Thanksgiving Travel Tips

airplanes ready for take offAirport runway planes
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​Here’s how to spend less time and money getting to your Thanksgiving destination and more time enjoying your time off.

Sure, the week of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, with more than 28 million people expected to fly between November 17 and 28, up 3 percent from last year. But that doesn’t mean Turkey Day has to break the bank. Here, our best-ever tips.

THE BEST DAYS TO TRAVEL FOR THANKSGIVING

To save money and hassle this year, travel November 17 through 21 or on Thanksgiving Day itself. For the return trip, hold off till Monday November 27 or try Black Friday, when so many people are busy shopping.

IS IT TOO LATE TO GET A DEAL ON AIRFARE?

Sure, it’s late to buy Thanksgiving airline tickets, but look for last-minute deals with our friends at Skyscanner.com and be flexible with your dates and airports. Coast-to-coast flights for under $500 are still out there.

ARE SUPER-LOW-COST AIRLINES REALLY A GOOD DEAL?

If that $30 last-minute flight to Grandma’s house seems too good to be true, I promise it isn’t true: It is a rock-bottom basic fare and you will be charged extra for everything from choice of seat (really) to checked bags (of course) and maybe even for your carry-on bag. It doesn’t mean don’t book a super-low-cost flight, just read the terms and conditions and know what you’re getting into before you hit “purchase.”

TREAT YOURSELF TO A HOTEL FOR THANKSGIVING

Surprise! In survey after survey, up to 7 out of 10 travelers admit they really don’t like staying with relatives for Thanksgiving (but surveys also suggest most people suck it up, stay with relatives, and pretend to enjoy it). The good news is, hotels are often underbooked around Thanksgiving and you can find deals even at the last minute. Hotels that cater to business travelers -- such as suites and airport hotels -- are especially affordable on holiday (and non-holiday) weekends.

BEAT HOLIDAY TRAFFIC BY DRIVING AT NIGHT

Glamorous? Nope. Tried and true? Yup. You’ll hit less traffic if you hit the road after dark, let the kids sleep, and catch a nap before your turkey dinner.

PSST! HERE'S A NATIVE NEW YORKER'S SECRET FOR VISITING THE MACY'S PARADE

If you’re traveling to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, take public transportation or park your car on the far West Side of Manhattan and head for Central Park West below 77th Street, where the parade starts out with its high energy, giant balloons, marching bands, and iconic views of the park.

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