This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

5 Reasons to Panic About Holiday Travel ... Now

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If pop-up costume shops and Candy Corn Oreos don't get folks into the holiday spirit, maybe the scant two months left to buy airline tickets to grandma's house for Thanksgiving will.  

The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching and early bird deals on airfares are drying up. According to Rick Seaney, analyst and CEO for travel website FareCompare, roughly two months out is the best time to shop for holiday airfares and desired flight times. As the days pass, it's going to get a lot tougher to find a low-cost fare or a non-redeye flight without arriving or departing on Thanksgiving Day itself.  

It may seem a bit early to start thinking about travel, turkey and stuffing, but holiday travel demand doesn't care about your calendar. Even if you haven't bought a single present, travel experts say you should consider making a plane ticket your first holiday purchase. Airline holiday travel surcharges, finite capacity and a narrow travel window all help jack up prices while reducing alternatives for procrastinators.

 

After consulting with the folks at TripAdvisor's (TRIP) SmarterTravel, Priceline (PCLN) and FareCompare, we've realized it's clearly time to panic about holiday travel. Don't think so? Go ahead, mock the holiday travel market. Here are at least five reasons you're wrong and will pay for your indecision and arrogance:  

5. Everybody wants to fly when you do  
We don't just mean during the holidays. We mean the exact days you do. Flying in on Nov. 21 just before Thanksgiving and leaving on Nov. 25 or Nov. 26 right after the stuffing's digested is ideal, which is why those are the most expensive days on the calendar. The price of a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to New York arriving Nov. 21 and leaving on Nov. 25 or Nov. 26 was $520 to $565 back in August. Fares on less ideal days are close to that price now and ...  

4. It's not getting cheaper  
FareCompare's Seaney says that while there's a chance an unexpected bargain will come up sometime between now and Thanksgiving or the winter holidays, there's a far better chance airlines will continue to cut capacity as needed and leave you with nothing. Seaney says fares jump $5 a day between now and the holidays, which jacks up the price of your ticket $35 for every week you wait.

Right now, fares start at roughly $120 round trip for a short-haul flight of 500 miles or less and $425 for long-haul flights of 1,500 miles or more. Just don't give those starting-at prices too much credence. According to SmarterTravel, last year round-trip fares from New York to Charleston, S.C., reached $960 by October while a flight from Boston to Dallas was nearly $800 a month out. Also ...  

3. Bargains are still costly  
Fliers can still get some of the lower holiday fares, but they'll cost some convenience. Priceline notes that the best days to fly during Thanksgiving week are Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Thanksgiving Day itself on Nov. 22. If you can wait until the following week to head home, Tuesday, Nov. 27, through Friday, Nov. 30, are wide open and fairly inexpensive. It's nearly impossible to avoid the major airlines' $10 to $35 holiday surcharges during December, but if you can fly out Tuesday, Dec. 18, and wrap up your vacation by New Year's Eve, there may be a deal for you yet. Just don't try the same tricks you used to get the family to Disney World this summer because ...  

2. Layovers may not help  
Sacrificing a nonstop flight for a 30-minute layover usually cuts hundreds of dollars off of the price of air travel, but that rule goes out the window during Thanksgiving. Seaney says a layover may help lower a fare, but it just as easily may not. Take some time to compare prices and see if the difference is worth the aggravation. A $10 disparity for one person making a round-trip flight could be an easy price to pay for convenience. A family of four paying $20 more per ticket apiece may want to consider that layover in Milwaukee. The Alterra coffee is surprisingly good, but be careful because ...

 

1. Everybody's using the same tricks  
It's just a matter of using them before the other beleaguered family at the boarding gate. Try smaller, less hectic airports within striking distance, such as Providence, R.I., or Manchester, N.H., for Boston; Philadelphia or Newburgh, N.Y., for New York City; or Long Beach for Los Angeles. Stick to airlines such as JetBlue (JBLU) and Southwest (LUV) to avoid baggage fees and consider springing for early boarding or extra legroom if you think it will cut down on the holiday hassle. If you don't try these tactics now, someone else will in the not-too-distant future.  

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.  

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.  

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,083.80 -2.83 -0.02%
S&P 500 1,987.98 +0.97 0.05%
NASDAQ 4,472.1080 -1.5890 -0.04%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs