Can you believe it? More than 50 percent of Americans don't use their vacation days, according to a report based on 2017 figures.
This is so wrong. Folks work hard for this time off and deserve to enjoy it. Granted, it's tough to travel this time of year, what with family coming for Thanksgiving and money that'll need to be spent for Christmas. But there is a solution.
Take a fun trip in the last cheap vacation zone of 2018. But hurry.
When: This end-of-the-year cheap-flight zone is neatly sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas, from about Nov. 27 or 28 until mid-December. It's those peaceful couple of weeks after turkey day travel ends, just before the Christmas rush.
Why so cheap: It's pretty obvious. With the exception of business travelers, hardly anyone wants to fly during this period. Most are focused on getting ready for the holidays, which may include some travel to see family. To some, taking a trip merely for our own enjoyment at this time seems, well, maybe a little selfish. It's not, though, thanks to incredibly low prices.
Where is it cheap: You can find super cheap airline tickets to destinations across the U.S., including fun spots like Boston, Denver, Florida, Las Vegas and a few West Coast cities. There are also mega-bargains to Europe -- earlier this week I found flights from Boston to Amsterdam and Boston to Dublin for a mere $310 roundtrip each. Tip: Not all destinations are bargains from all departure cities, but the fares will be cheaper than normal -- often a lot cheaper.
How to find a very good price: I take a two-pronged approach. First, use a deal-finding tool that searches by month or season -- there's one on my site, but there are others -- to see what destinations are especially cheap from your city. Then, look at the itineraries you're offered; most will be for flights during the first two weeks of December. If the dates you're offered aren't perfect, go to an airfare comparison site to plug in specific travel dates that work best within the early-December travel window. You may not wind up with the very best deal but you will definitely have a very good deal.
Don’t procrastinate: Book now for deals in early December.
Make it even cheaper: If your airline offers carry-on bags for free, take them up on the offer. Wear your heavy stuff on the plane so you won’t have to pack it. If your airline makes you pay for a carry-on, use one anyway because it will save you from wasting time at the baggage carousel upon landing and as we all know, time is money.
Rick Seaney is CEO of FareCompare. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.