There may be no pairing of words that causes more stress than Holiday Travel. Did you cringe as soon as you read it? Visions of crowded airports, delayed flights, disappearing checked baggage and high prices may fog your mind, but before you buckle your seatbelt for takeoff, know that you’re not alone in your seasonal journey. This year, almost half of US travelers (45%) are traveling for the December holidays, according to a recent TripAdvisor survey. That’s up 4% from last year, meaning that lines at your airport coffee shop may likely be 4% longer. Ready to brace for the most frantic travel season of the year? These TripAdvisor stats may help with last-minute plans:
The Best Holiday Travel Days
According to TripAdvisor Flights search data, the least expensive days for a domestic flight before Christmas are Monday, December 16 and Tuesday December 17 (average fare: $341).
If your time off doesn’t kick in until closer to the Christmas holiday, flying Christmas Eve (December 24) is still 25% cheaper than flying on the most expensive day, averaging about $374.
Beware of traveling the Saturday before Christmas! December 21 is the most expensive day to fly this month (average fare: $497).
The Busiest Holiday Travel Days
Almost one third (32%) of travelers will be departing for their December holiday trips on Thursday, December 19 or even earlier.
Many will be returning for the start of the new decade, with 44% heading home Wednesday, December 30 or later.
Holiday Travel Trends
Distance isn’t stopping travelers this December. 41% of travelers will be going more than 1,001 miles.
46% of travelers will drive to their destinations and 44% of travelers will fly to reach their holiday getaways. That leaves 10% to… telecommute? Boat? Take the train? In the case of holiday travel, it’s mostly the destination that counts.
Where Americans Will Be Flying For The Holidays
According to TripAdvisor Flights search data, the most popular domestic holiday destinations for Americans this year are in, surprise, warmer weather cities.
If you’re eager to heat up, plan for extra time getting through airport security, because these airports are predicted to be the busiest during the holidays:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
International Holiday Travel
The ten most popular international December holiday destinations for U.S. travelers are:
- Mexico City
- San Salvador
- Montego Bay
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