July 4th Vacationing: The Secret to Saving on Airfares

PHOTO: According to a recent survey, July 4th is the biggest travel holiday of the summer.Mbbirdy/Getty Images
According to a recent survey, July 4th is the biggest travel holiday of the summer.

Planning on vacationing for July 4th? This is the perfect year to do it since the holiday lands on a Friday, lending itself to a nice three-day weekend booking. But to avoid exorbitant flight ticket prices, travelers will want to follow this key rule: book by the end of Memorial Day week.

According to travel company Hipmunk and the results of its annual Summer Travel Survey, travelers can save up to 30 percent on airfare if they purchase tickets between May 26th – Memorial Day – and June 1st.

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Based on last year’s flight data of the top 30 airports in the U.S., Hipmunk found that travelers that booked during Memorial day week spent $150 less on average on airfare compared to those that booked three weeks after the May holiday.

Of course, even booking way before Memorial Day could get you cheaper fares.

“Our overall advice is to try to buy as soon as you know for sure you are going to travel,” said Adam Goldstein, the CEO and co-founder of Hipmunk. “But sometimes it doesn’t make sense to book if there’s a chance you’ll cancel.”

The survey found that the week of Memorial Day made the most economical sense, since its close enough to July 4th that plans have been set with some certainty and far away enough that airfare has yet to begin its exponential climb.

Although “overall prices have gone up,” says Goldstein about the general trend.

There’s another reason why low airfares may be a rarer find. July 4th is already the most air-trafficked holiday of the summer, and with the Friday kicking it off, airlines are expecting a greater flow of vacationers. This means “more demand for the weekend may lead to more expensive airfares.”

At least the Memorial Day deadline can help lessen the dent in your wallet.

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