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How To Cut Travel Costs For 2013 Holidays

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The best deals for last-minute holiday flights were found between September and mid-October, according to Kayak.com data. After that, airfares increased 17 percent for Thanksgiving, 51 percent for Christmas and 25 percent for New Year's Eve.
The best deals for last-minute holiday flights were found between September and mid-October, according to Kayak.com data. After that, airfares increased 17 percent for Thanksgiving, 51 percent for Christmas and 25 percent for New Year's Eve.

Whether taking a plane, train or automobile, travel professionals said it’s still possible to cut costs when traveling during the holidays.

For people who have procrastinated to book airline tickets but still want a deal, it may be wise to wait until Thanksgiving Day to fly.

“Departing the morning of Thanksgiving and returning the next day, or the Tuesday after, could be best,” said Laura Aguiar, public relations and governmental affairs manager for the Gainesville Regional Airport.

Maria Katime, Kayak.com spokesperson, said the best flight prices are usually found months prior to the holidays, according to their data conducted during 2012.

“For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve travel, on average the best and cheapest last-minute airfares were found between September and mid-October,” she said.

But for those who didn’t book flights before mid-October, Katime said Thanksgiving airfares increased 17 percent, Christmas 51 percent and New Year’s Eve 25 percent.

Katime concluded, like Aguiar, that when traveling domestically during the holidays it’s best to depart the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Mondays and Tuesdays were the best days to depart, she said.

“Try to return on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or the following Tuesday,” Katime said. By returning these days, travelers saved more than 20 percent.

Katime said for even bigger savings, leave and return on the day of the holiday.

“By departing and returning on the day of the holiday, we saw travelers have the biggest savings,” said Katime

However, not everyone travels by plane.

With 90 percent of the population visiting friends and family by car, the automobile remains the primary mode of transportation in the US, according to AAA and IHS Global Insight’s “Travel Forecast.”

Gas prices can also be a huge expense, but this holiday season Floridians won’t have to worry too much about outrageous fuel costs.

Nationally and statewide in Florida, the gas price in November 2012 was $3.42 for regular grade gas. This month, the average for Florida is $3.23 a gallon.

In Gainesville, gas is currently $3.35 a gallon for regular grade gas, according to AAA reports.

Whether traveling by plane, automobile or any other mode of transportation, consider when others will be flying or on the road.

Aguiar said to simply use common sense when purchasing airfare because it will help keep a few dollars in your pocket.

“The days that seem better to fly usually are, so just use your common sense — it is all about supply and demand when it comes to airfare,” Aguiar said.

About Mia Jones

Mia is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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