If you're planning on going out of town this thanksgiving you're going to have company. The airline industry expects more passengers this year. That could mean higher fares if you haven't already booked your flight. Here are some tips for cheaper and easier Thanksgiving travel.
The Air Transport Association expects 24 million Americans will take flight during the 12-day Thanksgiving holiday period. That would be 3.5 percent more than last year.
And while the industry group welcomes the uptick as a sign that travel is on the rebound in a tough economy, passengers may not be as thrilled.
Analysts like farecompare.com have already seen a double-digit year-over-year increase in air fares, and don't anticipate any drops ahead for the holiday season, and a survey by discount travel site Priceline finds Thanksgiving fares at their highest levels since 2007.
For the best fares and easiest travel, avoid the busiest days. The ATA expects November 28, the Sunday after Thanksgiving to have the greatest volume. If it fits with your plans, consider a flight on Thanksgiving day, expected to be the least busy of the travel period.
Airlines already anticipate Thanksgiving flights to be at 90 percent capacity or greater, so don't bank on a last-minute deal. If you have time, consider a connecting flight. Nonstops are more convenient, more popular and at peak times, can be more expensive.
And pack light. Don't forget about those extra baggage fees that can add up very quickly.