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Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s best spent with family. For some of us, our extended families are just a stone’s throw away. For others, they’re across the state or across the country. If we want to see them during our short time off of work, we have to fly.

Flying during the holiday season can be an expensive proposition. And if you don’t plan your trip until the last minute, it can be difficult to even get a seat. But if you know a few tricks, there are spectacular deals to be had.

One thing that many travelers don’t think of is changing their dates of departure. This can make a huge difference in your fares. The day before Thanksgiving tends to be the most popular day for departure, so leaving two days ahead of time could possibly save you money. And if you’re willing to catch a flight on Thanksgiving Day, you could save big bucks since there won’t be many people flying. Fly back on the following Monday or Tuesday, and you could also save money on your return trip.

Another way you could save is by flying to a different airport. You’ll have to travel further by car to get to your destination, but if you can save enough money on your flight, it will be well worth the trouble. Just plan to land a little earlier than you would have at the closest airport, and you’ll still get to spend plenty of time with the family.

If you’re planning your trip just a week or two in advance, you could find a great deal through an online booking engine such as Lastminute.com. They help airlines book seats that would otherwise be empty, so they usually come at a significant discount. The biggest drawback is that you can’t be certain that you will be able to get a flight to where you want to go, but if you’re flexible there’s usually some way that you can make it to your destination.

The cost of the ticket itself can vary significantly, but it’s also important to consider fees. There are usually more fees charged when you buy through a third party than when you purchase your ticket directly from the airline. So make sure to read the fine print before completing a transaction online or through a travel agent. You’ll also have to pay an additional fee if you check a second bag in most cases, and that fee can be rather hefty.

Air travel during the holidays has a reputation for being expensive. But there are some ways you can save money. Keep these pointers in mind, and you could get a flight at a fraction of its normal cost!

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