Though most people don't even think of flying on December 25th, regular travelers know that it's one of the most comfortable times to be on the move.
"Christmas Day is a great day for air travel," says air-travel expert John DiScala, founder of JohnnyJet.com and AirlineNumbers.com. DiScala also writes a travel blog for travel insiders Frommers.com, and has travelled to over 60 countries – 19 just this past year.
NO GUARANTEES ON PRICING THOUGH
About the aforementioned cheaper flights: Keep in mind that results may vary this year. Although the low-demand Christmas Day has traditionally offered lower-priced tickets and plenty of empty seats, all bets may be off this holiday season after over a year of recession.
"Flights will be more expensive since airlines have cut capacity to record levels." They've done so by cutting flights – meaning fewer planes and more travelers per plane, says DiScala.
What this means is, if you really need to get somewhere on Christmas, book in advance lest the seats sell out – even if you don't snag an exceptional deal.
But if you're flexible (all you want, for instance, is to get away somewhere warm, and you're not fussy on whether you depart on Christmas Day or just close to it), then by all means see what last-minute deals may pop up.
INSIDER TIP: For pleasure travelers who can manage waiting another couple weeks to get away, the real bargains are to be found are in mid-January. "The second week of January is known as Dead Week because everyone is back at work and has spent all their cash on presents. So if you can wait until then, you'll be a savvy traveler," says DiScala. You should be able to reap savings galore.
HOLIDAY HOTEL SAVINGS
One thing that's a given on Christmas, however, is cheaper hotels. "Consumers will be able to find some great hotel deals – especially last minute since hotel owners don't want them to go unsold," says DiScala.
Hit by the same travel slump that has affected airlines, hotels and resorts will offer discounts and freebies this holiday season, making for a more wallet-friendly stay whether you're visiting relatives (where the "spare room" is often synonymous with "dungeon"), or escaping to the beach. Discounts will be more modest at ski destinations, says DiScala.
If you're traveling by car, try bargaining with the hotel manager to see if he or she will throw free parking on to your stay. Meal vouchers or a room upgrade are worth seeking, too. (The worst they can say is "No," right?)
SMART SHOPPING ON THE ROAD
One final benefit to flying to your relatives' place on Christmas Day? Great shopping.
"Last Christmas I flew the red eye from LA to Erie via Philadelphia and all the airport restaurants and shops were open, so it was like a mall!" reports DiScala. A near-empty, blissfully calm mall where you don't have to worry about road rage incidents as you seek a rare parking spot.
Between the bookstores, chocolatiers, spa shops, golf boutiques, fashion accessories stands, electronic gadgets kiosks, and so on, there's actually quite a lot to choose from if you want to buy on the go.
"The airport might be the only place to shop on Christmas Day!" says DiScala.