DON'T avoid flying on the actual holiday.

 

 

Changing your departure or return date by one day can save major cash. The biggest savings typically come with flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. The exception is if you're traveling over a three-day weekend around Labor Day or Memorial Day. Then, everyone is looking to fly on the actual holiday, so that's the perfect time to try and extend your vacation by a day.

 

 

 

 

DO jump on a hot fare when you see it.
 

Airlines are required by the DOT to offer 24-hour free hold or cancellations as long as you are booking your ticket 7 days prior to your travel date. Typically, you'll have to pay first, then you get the full refund. The only exception is American Airlines, which is transitioning to this policy, but still offers a free hold for 24 hours. The other big exception to note is that you have to book with the airline directly. This rule doesn't apply if you book your ticket with an OTA (online travel agency), like Expedia or Orbitz.

 

 

 

DON'T shy away from off-peak or shoulder-season travel.

 

During months when destinations see a lower volume of visitors, they respond by lowering flight and hotel prices. For example: Don't rule out Europe in winter. Flights are a bargain (think $500+ less than what you'd pay in peak months). In addition to fewer crowds, you can check out Christmas markets and escape feeling guilty for spending all your time indoors wandering museums, palaces and cathedrals. And is there anything more romantic than wandering centuries-old cobblestone streets while snowflakes fall dreamily from above?