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5 Strategies for Holiday Travel Procrastinators

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- So you waited until now to book holiday travel despite the fact there's almost a full week less time between now and Christmas than last year. Bold move.

Just days before Thanksgiving and roughly a month before Christmas, we don't feel it's a reach to say holiday travel bargain hunters are tracking an extinct species. Deals? There are no deals. You're lucky if there are open seats out there getting more expensive by the moment.

You say JetBlue (JBLU) just offered a winter fare sale? Yeah, but most holiday dates are blacked out. Think Santa's got a cheap flight hidden in his bag somewhere? Maybe if you're headed to Dublin. Waiting for that great, last-minute Thanksgiving deal? As FareCompare Chief Executive Rick Seaney notes, "You waited too long."

You have some holiday travel options, but none meet even the most forgiving definition of "good." Shut off those fare alerts and don't expect any deals or discounts in the pages that follow. With the help of the folks at FareCompare and SmarterTravel (TRIP), we have put together a few tips that will prevent you from bankrupting yourself. They'll soften the blow a bit, but you're still taking a strong punch right to the wallet:

Fly on the holiday

Maybe you misjudged the calendar or just flat out forgot. Either way, you haven't booked a ticket and breaking your loved ones' hearts isn't an option.

The good news is that some tickets are still available. The bad news? They're roughly the cost of a large family's Thanksgiving dinner.

If you have frequent-flier miles to use, now is the time. There are going to be last-minute redemption fees, but would your rater pay full price? Also, consider flying on Thanksgiving Day. You'll miss the parade unless you're on a flight with DirecTV (DTV), but not getting to mock Matt Lauer is the price you pay for your sloth. Meanwhile, you'll be flying on one of the least popular days on the airline calendar and make it home in time for turkey and stuffing. If you really want to save, make it a quick turnaround and leave on the Saturday after thanksgiving. It can knock $100 to $200 off the ticket price and will be your only opportunity to do so unless you want to leave on Tuesday.

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