NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s no place like home for the holidays, but how can you get there without blowing your budget?
CBS2’s Jessica Moore uncovered some expert tips and tricks to book your flights without breaking the bank.
When it comes to booking holiday travel, most people know the secret to saving money is timing.
“Book early and book now,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Taylor Shank.
“The best thing to do is book way ahead of time,” Lorenzo Gonzalez of Hell’s Kitchen.
Travel experts say, however, that 40 percent of Americans still haven’t booked their flights.
“I haven’t made any travel plans yet for the holidays,” said James Carmicle. “I would say don’t stress, we’re still in the first week of November, and that’s before prices are really going to spike dramatically.”
Travel expert Liana Corwin, who works at the website Hopper, says your best bet is to book your Thanksgiving and Christmas travel at the same time.
“Thanksgiving prices start high and stay high. Christmas starts low and then spike up,” Corwin said. “They’re going to continue climbing from here.”
The cheapest dates to travel are leaving the Sunday before Thanksgiving and returning the following Wednesday.
“If you’re flying from NY you’re in luck- flights are down 20% from last year and averaging around $250,” Corwin said. “If you don’t have that much time off the next best thing is to leave Thanksgiving morning and return following Monday. If you can avoid that Sunday after Thanksgiving it’s going to save you a lot of money.”
Some budget travelers are saving hundreds of dollars booking basic economy fares, where passengers are allowed minimal, if any, luggage, are the last to board a flight, and can’t make any changes to their itineraries.
“This is a kind of a newer trend, so if you haven’t traveled since the last holiday this is something you might want to look into,” Corwin said.
Especially savvy travelers have taken to booking two one-way tickets instead of an often pricier round option.
“Sometimes [the difference] can be hundreds of dollars, depending on where you’re going,” Corwin said.
Travelers in the Tri-State Area can save even more money by booking flights out of Newark Airport, where prices are about 13 percent lower than those from JFK or LaGuardia.
Experts say travelers hoping to use miles or points two book a flight should check back with the airlines often, as more reward tickets may become available closer to the departure date.