Google Data Has Everything You Need to Know to Get a Cheap & Easy Flight This Thanksgiving

published Oct 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Freebird7977)

We already know that Google knows all — that’s why we turn to our phone browsers for everything from mac and cheese recipes to remembering the capital of Wyoming. But it turns out that all our brainless searching serves a broader benefit. With all of that non-stop, up-to-the-minute data, Google can predict a lot.

For instance, flights. Especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas when it seems like everyone is traveling. With data from Google Flights, the search giant can predict when people are likely to start looking for holiday air travel and what days are going to be the busiest to fly.

Here’s some of what Google uncovered:

Avoid the Busiest Travel Days

With data from flight searches over the past two years, Google’s predicted that these will be the busiest days to fly:

  • Friday, November 17
  • Wednesday, November 22
  • Thursday, November 23 (on Thanksgiving!)
  • Sunday, November 26

Anticipate Price Spikes

Google’s blog reports that flight prices fluctuate on a weekly schedule, tuned to your travel date: “Flight prices often rise 21, 14 and 7 days in advance of travel dates. For example, if you’re looking at a departure date of November 23, you can expect significant increases in flight prices on Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and again on Nov. 15.”

Know When Searches Peak

Now that you have an idea of when to travel, you can decide when to book: “Last year we saw a spike in Google Flights searches for Thanksgiving dates starting in mid-October.” Earlier is always better, of course, but the data suggests that you really should get a move on it, especially if you’re looking to snag a limited route.

Be Extra Ready if You Live in These 10 Cities

Google reports that these 10 cities tend to be the busiest around the holiday season.

  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Honolulu
  • Chicago
  • New York City
  • Boston
  • Orlando
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Miami

If you’re using Thanksgiving weekend to take a leisurely trip, you can try to avoid thesecities. But if you’re in NYC and basically required to see your in-laws in Ft. Lauderdale, you might want to add some extra time to your airport schedule for an easy travel day (and to make sure you don’t miss your flights!).

→ Heading Home (or Getting Away from It All!) for the Holidays? 8 Great Resources for Finding Cheaper Flights