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Here are the best, worst days to travel for the 2021 holiday season

Stock image. Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels)

Whether you’ve already booked holiday travel plans, or you’re waiting for the last minute to make sure there aren’t restrictions, there are certain things to keep in mind about which days will be best to travel, and what resources might be more scarce than in years past.

With the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day just two weeks away and more people having flexibility due to remote work schedules, here’s a breakdown of what to expect, travel-wise.


Christmas/New Year’s Day on a Saturday will change travel dynamics.

For the first time since 2010/the start of 2011, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day will be on a Saturday this year.

Because of that, the federal and bank holidays will recognize the Christmas Day holiday on Dec. 24, and the New Year’s Day holiday on Dec. 31.

That could lead to more people flying out/traveling during the midweek days that are typically slower.

Rental cars will likely be in short supply.

The demand for rental cars in the U.S. is up 229% compared to 2019, and 244% compared to 2020 for the holiday season, said Matt Clarke, VP of marketing at the online travel agency Kayak, according to the website travelandleisure.com.

That could lead to a serious shortage, especially for those flying to warmer spots from the north.

The best travel dates for Christmas Day ...

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday, the best dates to travel will be the Monday and Tuesday prior to Christmas, which are the 20th and 21st, respectively, according to the vacationer.com.

The best return dates from any travel are Tuesday, Dec. 28, and Wednesday, Dec. 29.

However, citing data from Kayak, travelandleisure.com said Dec. 28 was shaping up to be the most popular travel day after Christmas Day as of early September.

The worst travel dates for Christmas Day ...

According to thevacationer.com, the worst days to depart before Christmas Day will be Wednesday the 22nd and Thursday the 23rd. The worst return dates will be Sunday the 26th and Monday the 27th.

Traveling on New Year’s Day could be more advantageous this year.

With schools and work places getting back into the swing of things on Monday, Jan. 3, you have to imagine airports will be jam-packed on Sunday, Jan. 2.

Given that, flying on Jan. 1, which is usually a fairly slow day for air travel, could pack even more benefits than usual this year.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.