By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the busiest travel periods of the entire year is just about two weeks away.  If you haven’t booked Thanksgiving airfare yet, you’re not entirely out of luck.

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But as 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, you may have to do some digging for deals, and keep plans flexible.

For those who haven’t yet booked Thanksgiving tickets, George Hobica of AirfareWatchDog.com says it’s not entirely impossible to find a decent fare, but travelers can’t be choosy.

“There are always going to be bargains, but it’s going to be in the bargain bin for example you’re going to have to travel on a 5 a.m. flight instead of a more convenient 9 a.m. flight,” said Hobica.

Travel website Kayak crunched the numbers and found the best day for deals.

“If at all possible, we highly suggest traveling on Thanksgiving. It might be a little unconventional, but one option to save big would be to depart and return on thanksgiving day,” said David Solomito with Kayak.

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Kayak says another good departure day is the Monday before Thanksgiving, returning on Thanksgiving day or night.

When looking at connections, Hobica recommends checking a flight’s on-time arrival performance with a site like flightaware.com.

“It’s main use for me is it tells you how late a certain flight has been historically, so if you are connecting, you want to make sure that you don’t buy it on a flight that’s always late,” said Hobica.

Especially since rebooking can be tricky during a busy travel period like Thanksgiving.

If flights to visit your family are too costly, but you still want to get away for a few days, you may want check fares to places like Las Vegas, Orlando, or New Orleans.  Popular tourist spots are often actually less crowded for thanksgiving and you may find a good deal.

 

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