Ed. Note: Today we welcome back our friend Johnny Jet, who has some simple but effective tips to share if you need to travel during the holiday season and want to do so like a pro.
Most business travelers avoid traveling during the holidays because that’s when all the “rookies” come out. The lines are long, flights and hotels are not only packed but crazy expensive and of course traffic is a nightmare. However, with a few simple tricks it doesn’t have to be!
1. Use the right airport hubs. When booking flights don’t fly through airports that get big snowstorms like Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, or Denver, which are known to have weather delays during the holidays. Instead, look to make connections at southern hubs like Phoenix, Los Angeles, Memphis, Dallas, Houston, and Miami.
2. Best times to book? Obviously, the most expensive time to travel is when everyone else is on holiday too. This year’s Thanksgiving is on Thursday November 22 so the peak days will be Wednesday the 21st and Sunday November 25th. If you want to save money avoid flying on those days. The cheapest day will be Friday the 23rd and the planes should be empty.
Christmas falls on a Tuesday so if you want to save money fly on Christmas Day and return on New Year’s Eve. Otherwise prepare to shell out the big bucks and have no chance of getting an open seat next to you. The key to getting the cheapest ticket is to be flexible with either your times, days, destinations or even airports.
3. Alternate airports. For example if you are going to South Florida, rather than flying into Miami, fly into Fort Lauderdale. It’s 25 miles away and usually much cheaper. I created a website called AlternateAirports.com that lists all the major U.S. airports with the surrounding airports (by actual driving miles) that might just save you a lot of money by flying into or out of.
4. Pick the right time to fly. The time of day that you travel is important. The most expensive times are peak business travel hours (8 to 10 am and 5 to 7 pm). Cheaper seats tend to depart early in the morning (5 to 7 am) or late in the evening (after 8 pm). Also try mid-day (11 am to 4 pm). But I prefer leaving early morning in the since you have the best chance of not getting delayed.
Now that you should’ve secured a relatively cheap and safe ticket here are my 10 Ways to Travel like a Frequent Flier which should make your holiday travel season as peaceful and pleasant as possible.
John E. DiScala (a.k.a. Johnny Jet) travels around 150,000 miles and visits over 20 countries each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured over 2,000 times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune and The New York Times, and he has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, FOX News Channel and PBS. JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the top best money-saving web sites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, while the L.A. Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.” Outside Magazine touted Johnny for having one of the world’s best “dream jobs”. He writes for Frommers.com, The Huffington Post, LAX Magazine and has written for USAToday and ABC News. Sign up today for Johnny Jet’s free weekly travel newsletter at JohnnyJet.com.