Consumer Alert: Traveling for the holidays? Start deal-hunting now

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Summer only just ended on Monday, but a new study from AAA finds that if you want to get a good deal on holiday travel this year, you should start looking around now.

More than 50 million people travel over the Thanksgiving holiday each year, and another 100 million travel during Christmas week. If you want to get the best prices on holiday travel, experts say the best time to buy is right now.

"You should start planning at least 4-6 weeks ahead. So for Thanksgiving, it’s not too early to start and for Christmas, you should really start making the plans well ahead of time," says Tracy Noble, with AAA. "People still can get last-minute deals, for those that procrastinate up to a few weeks out, but most of the time you’re going  to get the better deals earlier on."

According to AAA, travelers will get the best deals on holiday airfare between now and Oct. 27. The group also says that for the best possible deal, you should try to be creative with your travel schedule.

"The best time to fly if you’re flying for Thanksgiving could be on Thanksgiving Day. And the same thing goes for the Christmas holiday," Noble says.

If flying on Thanksgiving Day isn't realistic, AAA says you can get the next best rate by heading out no later than Monday -- ignore the two days in between. And for Christmas, the cheapest fares usually fall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. You'll get the next best rate if you travel no later than Dec. 20.

Beware of those discount, basic economy seats. They only guarantee you a spot on the plane, not a particular seat -- so if you have young kids, you may not be seated with them. And consider getting travel insurance, especially in winter when weather events are common.

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