For a holiday that revolves around a flightless bird, it's ironic how much Americans spend on travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. Almost half of the expense of the long weekend is gobbled up (sorry) just by the cost of getting to the dinner table, according to a poll from LendEDU.
LendEDU asked 1,000 American adults how much they expect to spend to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. The average total expense is $165.14. LendEDU also asked respondents to estimate how much of that expense would be due to traveling costs like plane tickets, gas or hotel stays.
These cost made up 40.9% of what respondents expected to spend on Thanksgiving, or $67.59. Mike Brown, research analyst for LendEDU, stressed that these numbers were averages, and that many people, especially those requiring a plane ticket or hotel room, would pay much more.
How you can save on travel
There are plenty of ways you can lower your Thanksgiving travel cost. One unpleasant way is to travel on Thanksgiving itself instead of the day before like everyone else. Flight comparison site Hopper found that departing Thanksgiving and coming home the following Wednesday (Nov. 29) was $54 cheaper than departing Nov. 22 and returning the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
It's also a good idea to book early. It's probably too late for this Thanksgiving, since it's only a week away, but if you haven't booked your flight yet, DO IT NOW.
For next year, the best time to book a Thanksgiving flight is probably 11 weeks out, according to a study from Skyscanner. Mark your calendars.
You should also try to avoid paying full-price for a hotel room. If you're visiting family, see if your old bedroom is available. If your dad has turned it into a home office/studio/man cave/yoga studio/giant walk-in closet, try splitting the cost of a hotel with other visiting relatives or opting for alternative accommodations like Airbnb, Flipkey or HomeAway.
Check out our other tips for saving on holiday travel here. Once you've cleared that hurdle, all you'll have to worry about is avoiding awkward conversations about politics, religion or your depressing dating life.