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Make Your List, Check it Twice: Next Week is the Best Time to Start Booking Holiday Flights

AAA reveals the ideal time to purchase flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas starts Sept. 25

The much-anticipated Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays may still be months away, but the best time to book flights for these busy travel weeks is quickly approaching. In fact, a recent analysis of AAA Travel’s flight booking data from the last three years reveals that Sept. 25 marks the start of the best booking window for air travel around both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

“Holiday travelers should make their plans now and begin booking their flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, Sept. 25 for the best deals and availability,” said Nick Jarmusz, Midwest director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group.  “Procrastinating travelers may be able to find last-minute deals on flights close to the holidays, as airlines look to fill their last few remaining seats, but flight availability for these peak travel weeks will be very limited by that time.”
Thanksgiving Insights

Most travelers book their flights for Thanksgiving between Sept. 25 and Oct. 27, which is 28 to 60 days prior to the holiday and offers relatively good prices ($491 on average). Surprisingly, AAA’s analysis found that travelers can find some of the best pricing ($482 on average) seven to 13 days before the holiday, Nov. 11-17 this year. However, limited availability will make seats hard to come by at these discounted rates.

Flying Monday of Thanksgiving week is the best option for travelers to arrive at their destinations before the holiday. It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday, and is a lighter travel day than later in the week. For travelers more concerned about crowds than cost, the Sunday before the holiday has the highest average price per ticket ($564) and it is consistently the lightest travel day. Travelers can save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the lowest average price per ticket ($454).

Christmas Insights

While many travelers are focused on Thanksgiving, they would be wise to consider Christmas now as well. AAA found that 61 to 90 days prior to the holiday (between Sept. 26 and Oct. 25) is the sweet spot for Christmas flight bookings, with prices lower on average ($551) than more advanced bookings. However, most travelers book between 28 and 60 days before Christmas — between Oct. 26 and Nov. 27 — and still get a relatively good price ($561 on average). Like Thanksgiving, last-minute Christmas travelers can find the overall best pricing ($488 on average) seven to 13 days before the holiday week, but flight availability is likely to be very limited by that time.

Regardless what day of the week Christmas falls on (a Wednesday this year), most travelers depart two to four days prior to the holiday. These travelers, on average, pay ticket prices of $593 on Dec. 21, $639 on Dec. 22 (the busiest air travel day of Christmas week), and $603 on Dec. 23. However, AAA found that Christmas Eve is the best day to travel. It consistently has the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and is the lightest travel day of the week. Many travelers opt to travel after the Christmas holiday leading up to New Year’s, and they pay a premium to do so. Dec. 26 has the highest average ticket price of the week at $692.

“Last year, AAA projected that 54.3 million Americans would travel over the Thanksgiving holiday and a record-breaking 112.5 million during the longer year-end holiday season,” continued Jarmusz. “If those trends hold again this year, travelers are in for crowded airports and, possibly, longer wait times. Pack your patience and plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time at the airport to maintain that holiday cheer.”
When it comes to getting the best value for your travel this holiday season, AAA recommends:

  • Start researching holiday travel options now and book flights by Oct. 27.
  • Consult a knowledgeable travel agent; they can take the guesswork out of researching and evaluating the many available options, saving time, the hassle and the headache.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance for your flight to protect your trip from life’s unexpected surprises that can throw a wrench in your plans.

For more information, visit

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1/3 of Families Don’t Talk at Dinner

Gone, it seems, are the days of Leave It To Beaver and The Brady Bunch, where mom and dad sit down with the kids for a family dinner and everyone talks about their day.

According to a survey of 2,500 U.K. parents, a third of them sit “in complete silence” while eating dinner.

What’s more, four in 10 parents don’t even eat dinner at the same time as their children on most days — and one in ten parents never do.

The poll, commissioned by the Mexican food company Old El Paso, noted that it’s not just cellphones at the table that are stifling dinner chat — although 44% say that does happen.

Instead, as many as three in ten don’t know what to talk to their kids about.  More than one in five said they’d rather watch TV and eat, rather than interact with their kids at chow time.

“To get the most out of family mealtimes, the table needs to be filled with the happy noise of conversation, chat and laughter,” comments psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos in a statement.

“The more we engage, the closer and more connected we feel to each other,” she adds. “And children need to be part of this as it’s a vital part of developing their social skills. There is something truly wonderful about the happy sounds produced by a vibrant family meal.”

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Ms Monopoly

Ms Monopoly (002)Hasbro is releasing a new game called Ms. Monopoly that will pay women more than men — at least in Monopoly money.

In addition to switching the gender pay gap, the game’s properties will be replaced by innovations created by women. Inventions like WiFi, chocolate chip cookies, solar heating and more.

In the classic game players collect $200 when they pass “Go.” With Ms. Monopoly, male players get the usual $200, but women receive $240, reversing the real-life pay gap between men and women in the workplace.


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Toys That Stand the Test of Time

For kids — and adults who are still kids at heart — there are some toys that just don’t get old.

A poll of 2,000 American parents were asked which toys they played with as kids that still entertain their own children, and Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head came out on top.

The survey, which happened to be commissioned by Hasbro, the makers of the beloved spud, revealed that Troll dolls came in third, and My Little Pony and Furby dolls rounded out the top five.

The list of 30 favorite toys also included classic board games like Candyland (#17) and Monopoly (#22), as well as action figures like Transformers (#25) and retro gaming systems like Game Boy (#18). And surprisingly, in this digital age, even the humble Yo-Yo made the list — it ranked eleventh.

The survey also found where lost toys are most likely to turn up.

Toys that are played with by parents AND their kids:

1. Play Doh
2. Mr. Potato Head
3. Trolls
4. My Little Pony
5. Furby
6. Puzzles
7. Toy phone
8. Bop It
9. Building blocks
10. Bicycle
11. Yoyo
12. Guess Who?
13. Water blasters
14. Teddy bear
15. Scrabble
16. Tricycle
17. Candy Land
18. Game Boy
19. Spinning tops
20. Toy cash register
21. Plastic animals
22. Monopoly
23. Mouse Trap
24. Game of Life
25. Transformers
26. Clue
27. Baby Alive
28. Plastic food/kitchen supplies
29. Scattergories
30. Perfection

Most common places lost toys are found:

1. Under the bed
2. In the car
3. Left a family member or friend’s house
4. Behind the couch
5. In the kitchen
6. In sibling’s room
7. In a closet