Short flights: If you don't have to go to Mom's house for the holidays and just want to get away, check out destinations that are roughly an hour away or less. A good example is the Dallas to New Orleans flight which is only about 53 minutes long and typically won't incur a hefty holiday premium.
Western cities: Increased competition at some of the more popular cities in the West has kept airfare prices relatively low; consider Denver or the Los Angeles/Long Beach area for holiday getaways. Florida: We've been seeing good prices for flights from a number of major east coast cities to popular Florida destinations even during the holidays.
Choose Cheaper Airports
If possible, avoid mid-sized or smaller city airports because they are almost always more expensive than larger hubs. However, you must weigh the convenience factor of a longer drive to and from the airport as well as costs like pricier parking fees. Compare airfare, tote up the rest then ask yourself which will work best for you, LAX or Orange County.
Try These Fees, Avoid These Fees
Bag fees: If you must check luggage, JetBlue and Southwest are your only free bag airlines on domestic routes; otherwise, my recommendation is to use a carry-on bag and save the $50 round-trip fee (and it can be much, much more if your bag weighs more than 50 pounds). Carry-ons also save time, enabling quick airport entrances and exits.
Early boarding fees: Holidays are the perfect time to try certain fees and this is one of those fees I recommend you consider especially if traveling with the family (and especially if you are all lugging carry-ons). On some airlines like Southwest, you'll pay as little as ten bucks per person but even if it's more, it might be worth it for sheer stress relief!
Now get shopping, and safe travels.
The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.