Here’s something to be thankful about: Your Thanksgiving travel will probably cost less this year.
Prices for Thanksgiving flights to the top 10 destinations were down an average of 9 percent from last year, according to a report released by Orbitz, to an average $369. For a family of four, that’s a savings of more than $130.
Gas prices are down too, to a national average of $2.20 a gallon, the lowest average for this time of year in over a decade. Drivers will spend about $30 less on gas this year on a typical 550-mile Thanksgiving roundtrip.
There is one area where prices are going up: hotels. Orbitz reports that hotel prices increased an average of 5 percent to $181 a night.
While these lower costs may be good for your wallet, they also mean that more people will be traveling during the holiday. More than 25 million passengers will fly from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1, the highest numbers since the Great Recession and a 3 percent increase over last year, according to a new report from the trade group Airlines for America.
“As competition continues to boost schedules and drive down airfares in 2015, customers are seeing more opportunities to fly during the holiday season,” the group’s chief economist John Heimlich said in a statement.
Airlines for America expects the busiest travel day of the season to be November 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving, while Thanksgiving Day will be see the fewest passengers.
If you haven’t booked a flight yet, book as soon as possible, since airfares will likely continue to climb as Thanksgiving approaches. Get a sense of which days offer the cheapest rates by using the holiday calendar at CheapAir.com. You may be able to cut the costs of your flight even further by flying into a smaller airport, which tend to have lower prices, smaller crowds and fewer delays.