(NBC) – Tis the season…to wait in line at the airport.
More travelers are planning to hit the skies for the holidays, up 9 percent from last year, according to travel site “Airfare Watchdog,” and many still haven’t booked those flights.
“35 percent of travelers are actually waiting to plan their travels this year. That’s a 52 percent increase from last year,” said Amanda Norcross of Airfare Watchdog.
Often, procrastinators end up paying more for their ticket and should consider using a search service such as Google Flights to compare fares from multiple airlines.
“It lets you know when the best time is to book, and gives you alerts when a price goes to the lowest it’s going to go,” said Latoya Drake of Google.
Some low-cost carriers, including Southwest, won’t show up in third-party search results, but it might be worth checking those airlines directly.
Southwest is now the only domestic carrier that doesn’t charge for checked bags. It is also free to make changes or cancellations, so you can book now with the flexibility to change later.
When you travel can also make a big difference in price.
You can save money by extending your stay or flying in on a holiday, such as Christmas Day.
Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights says, “Traveling on those specific holidays can often be one of the cheapest days of the year to fly.”
But you might want to nail down your travel plans this week. Prices are only expected to go up as we close-in on the holidays.