Travel Advice: Thanksgiving Travel Tips

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Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
airport terminal

We know it’s in November but smart travelers are making their Thanksgiving travel plans right now. We find out from our travel expert what days and times are best to fly. We also look at packing, food and security.

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  • Traveling On Thanksgiving? Buy Your Ticket Now

    Thanksgiving may seem far away, but it’s not too early to start planning your trip home for the holiday.

    “Two of the busiest days of the year to fly are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. And not consequently, they’re also the most expensive days to fly,” says Rick Seaney, CEO and co-founder of airfare comparison shopping site “You want to start shopping pretty quick.”

    Seaney offered a few tips for smart, budget-friendly Thanksgiving travel:

    1. Fly on Thanksgiving day, if you can.

    Thanksgiving is the least expensive day to fly, by far, during the holiday travel window, Seaney said. Plus, flights won’t be crowded — just two-thirds full, typically. You’re almost guaranteed to have a more comfortable experience.

    “So if you can fly in the morning on a flight that’s under two hours, for example, and still make it to Grandma’s house for family and football, that’s a good thing as well,” he said.

    2. If you can’t fly Thanksgiving day, fly mid-week.

    Airline pricing is categorized into mid-week pricing, which is Monday through Thursday, and weekend pricing, which falls Friday through Sunday.

    Mid-week pricing can be up to $40 cheaper per flight than leaving on a weekend, Seaney said.

    3. Start shopping now.

    When it comes to domestic tickets, start looking at tickets up to three months ahead of time, and buy your ticket no later than 30 days before departure. Once the departure countdown hits 30 days, ticket prices hike drastically.

    Most people actually buy their tickets inside the 30-day window, and airlines use that data to their advantage, Seaney said.

    4. Location matters.

    You may elect to fly out of a smaller airport near you, such as La Crosse, Green Bay, Madison or Duluth. That’s OK, Seaney said — just know that with the locational convenience comes a “regional connection fee.”

    In some places, that fee is higher than others.

    “The premium for flying out of Madison only appears to be $30 to $40 dollars additional,” Seaney said.

    5. Bring back leftovers with caution.

    If you’re sent home with the family jam, or leftover cranberry sauce, know it could be confiscated. In general, err on the side of caution, and don’t bring food through security.

    “You have to be really careful when you’re traveling on that particular time. Jams and jelly can be hit or miss,” Seaney said.

    Liquids under 3.4 ounces should be OK, as long as they’re kept in a clear, zip-close bag, Seaney said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Rick Seaney Guest