If you're going home for Christmas, this is the best time to book a flight

At this point, it's basically a given that flying anywhere during the holidays will be more expensive than flying almost any other time of the year. Airlines seem to take advantage of the fact that people want to get home to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve with their families, so they jack up prices to sometimes ridiculous levels. This also happens to be one of those times when it’s hard to spend extra money because you’re also spending money on gifts. It’s tough for anyone who has to travel! Luckily, there are ways to save some money—you just need to know the tricks. First things first: you have to know the best time to book your holiday tickets.

If you're looking to buy Thanksgiving tickets, the best times are September and August, so unfortunately, you might be missing out. But if you're flying somewhere for Christmas, you still have time to grab some great deals. According to Skyscanner, the best time to buy Christmas tickets is from October 8 to November 19. If you book during this time, you can save about 3% on Christmas air tickets. That may not sound like much, but for a plane ticket worth a few hundred dollars, every little bit helps!

If you're waiting until after November 19 to buy your tickets, that may mean you'll miss out on some deals, but not all. To save money, do your research and stay flexible. If you decide to fly a specific airline at a specific time on a specific day, your options are narrowed considerably. If you're willing to look around, choose any airline, and possibly adjust your travel time, you'll have a better chance of finding a cheaper flight.

According to CheapAir, flights are cheapest between December 18 and December 28, so if you can take a longer vacation, it might be worth it. Flying on Christmas Eve can also save you an average of $76 per ticket. Likewise, flights departing on New Year's Eve are the cheapest day of the holiday, and waiting to depart on January 3 instead of January 2 can save you an average of $60 per ticket.

Priceline says if you can help it, don't book flights the weekend before a holiday. You should also be flexible with your flight times. The cheapest flights are early morning flights, from 5am to 7am or after 8pm. Whatever you do, try to book your flight 21 days in advance. Flavie Lemarchand-Wood, vice president of communications at Priceline.com, told Real Simple, "Once you hit that 21-day period, fares usually start to go up. The most expensive days to book a fare are usually within seven days before departure, which is why I tell people , if they see a price they like, don’t wait for a ticket because if they delay, it’s likely to cost them more.”

So, basically, if you need to book your vacation tickets, now is the time to do it!