Finding a good deal on airfare is always cause for celebration, but when you’re already trying to figure out if you can afford to buy gifts for all 13 cousins and their umpteen gazillion kids? Yeah, saving a few bucks on your flight is even better news then.

But even though you may not find a super bargain-basement price on an airline ticket over Christmas, there are still some things you can do to avoid paying more than you need to for your flight:

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Research & book flights early.

If we tell you that September is when you should start looking for Christmas airfare, would you think we were crazy? Well, it doesn’t really matter what you think, because the truth is that you might still be relishing the last of your summer tan, but September is when you need to start thinking about holiday travel.

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