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6 Ways Procrastinators Can Still Save on Thanksgiving Flights

While "cheap" and "holiday" don't really go hand-in-hand, there ARE ways you can still book a last-minute flight to see your loved ones, or perhaps jet off to a tropical island to celebrate without breaking the bank—really!

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Take advantage of a flight map

There are various tools that can help find you cheaper flights than say, going straight to an airline's website. FareCompare, Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Momondo are very handy map tools that reveal the cheapest days to fly based on the part of the country you're traveling to. They even prompt you to pick different days for the best deals. Don't have a preference for where you go, but just want it to be warm? You can use the tool to help find you the most economical destination for your travel dates based on your desire to be somewhere, "on the beach." Find out the best day to buy plane tickets. These deals are real, but these Thanksgiving "facts" you've believed your whole life are not.

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Know what makes a good itinerary

If you're not going too far, say anywhere from one to three hours, you could easily fly on Thanksgiving Day, which is typically the cheapest day to fly. The day before is bound to be the most expensive, however. And as for flying home, be wary that the Sunday after Turkey Day is also bound to break the bank. Find out the best day to book your Thanksgiving and Christmas airfare.

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Fly during undesirable hours

No one said booking at the last minute came along with your choice of flights. If you want to save a penny or two, you might have to give up some comforts, like your preferred time to fly. Opt for a red-eye or dawn patrol flight, which usually have the most unfilled seats (usually on these long-haul flights). To catch some shut-eye before the holiday festivities, read up on our tips for sleeping on a plane.

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Use your rewards

Watching your credit card rewards or airline miles grow is just that—rewarding—but when you're in a bind, tap into them to subsidize your flight. Also, be mindful of which one to use! This formula from NerdWallet is helpful: (ticket price – taxes and fees) ÷ rewards cost. You will then multiply that number by 100 to determine your reward value. As an example: If a flight is $250 (with $20 in taxes and fees) or 25,000 miles, it would equal 0.92 cents per mile. According to NerdWallet's Rewards Program Reviews, that's below the average value of rewards and miles from many programs, which means you should probably use cash. However, if the same flight was $500 (with $20 in taxes and fees) or 25,000 miles, it would calculate out to be 1.92 cents per mile, which means you're better off redeeming your miles, since it's more than the value of many rewards programs. Here's how to use credit card reward programs to rack up the most points.

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Follow and subscribe to your favorite airlines

Airlines have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a reason: to promote their brands and offer exclusive deals as an incentive. Many airlines post last-minute deals. If you subscribe to their newsletters, you'll often find great deals as well. JetBlue and Southwest are big on flash sales! Here are more ways to travel for cheap. Before you depart, try renting these helpful items for a stress-free Thanksgiving. 

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Follow "The Flight Deal"

This website is a gem! It gives you all the deals it can find for traveling, with sample dates, and the link and directions needed to use a simple plug-and-play software program that will get you dirt cheap flights. It gives you exclusive info on bad deals, including dodgy promotions even from the big airlines, and ways to avoid scams. Information on miles and credit card offers can also be found. But along with the website, you can subscribe to its newsletter with your preferences, so you can get immediate information on cheap flights to where you want to go. Find out 11 secrets for cheap travel booking agencies won't tell you.