Thanksgiving is a busy holiday for traveling. Almost every aspect of travel gets more expensive and stressful around the end of November, including getting a hotel reservation. So, why are hotels busy on Thanksgiving, and how can you get around this challenge?
Hotels are generally busy on Thanksgiving, especially in major United States cities. However, most people prefer to stay with family during this time. Therefore, not all hotels will be busy. You can save money by booking in advance, checking in early, or waiting for a last-minute deal.
In this article, I’ll discuss why hotels are usually busy around Thanksgiving and offer some suggestions for how to book the best hotels for the best price. I’ll also give you some additional Thanksgiving travel tips so you can have the best holiday. Let’s get started!
Booking Hotels for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving has always been a busy travel period in the United States. From crowded airports to congested roads, hotels are no exception to the masses, as everyone wants to be the first to visit their families.
However, this doesn’t stop hotels from taking advantage of the surge in travel to increase hotel rates. Hotels in major United States cities are typically the busiest and most expensive during Thanksgiving.
Additionally, despite some people choosing to stay with their families, some would rather stay in a hotel, such as:
- Large families who are strapped for space and don’t have a family home big enough to accommodate everyone
- People traveling over a few days to their family home and need a hotel in the interim
- People who don’t want to visit their family and would rather take a vacation to a popular destination
Therefore, this leaves many people with no choice but to book a hotel room and, unfortunately, cough out higher rates.
According to Fox News, hotel prices went up by approximately 14% in 2022, yet more people are looking to stay in hotels over the holiday. This trend is likely to continue in the years to come. Additionally, the average cost of staying in a hotel for one night during the week of Thanksgiving is $173. This cost might be higher in busier cities.
The most expensive city to stay in for Thanksgiving is New York City. New York is an expensive destination regardless of the time of year, but it gets many visitors for Thanksgiving due to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanksgiving is also an expected time for families to visit Disney World. Therefore, Orlando, Florida, is another expensive Thanksgiving destination.
Here are some of the most common Thanksgiving cities where you can expect busier hotels and higher hotel prices:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Ontario, California
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Orange County, California
- Savannah, Georgia
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Dallas, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Chicago, Illinois
- Fout Lauderdale, Florida
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Houston, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
If you plan to stay in one of the above cities, you have more reason to worry about hotels filling up.
Tips for Booking a Hotel for Thanksgiving
If you want to stay in a hotel during Thanksgiving and are worried about hotels without vacancies or expensive costs, don’t worry! There are some things you can do to lower the price and ensure you have a great place to stay for Turkey Day.
Here are my recommendations:
- Check in to the hotel early. If you’re looking for a multi-day stay, I suggest checking in to the hotel on Monday or Tuesday instead of waiting until Wednesday or Thanksgiving day. You’re more likely to get a better deal this way. I discourage you from checking in on Black Friday, which is often more expensive than on Thanksgiving day.
- Book the hotel far in advance. This is an easy way to save money. If you know the dates you’ll need a hotel, book the room before the hotel can increase the prices. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing you have a place to stay for the holidays.
- Wait for a last-minute deal. Although booking a hotel in advance is recommended, it might not always be feasible. In this case, consider waiting until the last minute to book your stay. Many hotels won’t fill up before the holiday because so many people choose to stay with family; therefore, they might lower their prices to ensure rooms get booked. However, if you choose this route, you risk not getting the kind of room you want or not getting a room at all.
- Choose a less popular destination. If you’re not visiting family and have some flexibility on where you can go, pick a less popular location that isn’t close to a major airport. This way, you can ensure that you get a room at a more reasonable price.
If you follow these tips, you will find a great hotel for Thanksgiving, even though it is a peak travel season.
More Thanksgiving Travel Tips
Traveling during Thanksgiving is stressful, not for the sole reason of not finding an affordable hotel.
Here are a few other ways to improve your Thanksgiving travel experience:
- Leave early: Leave early, whether hitting the road or heading to the airport. The journey will probably take longer than expected, and you’ll save a lot of stress if you leave as early as possible.
- Bring food and water: If you’re taking a long road trip, I suggest stocking up on food and water to avoid getting hungry or dehydrated on the road.
- Stay up-to-date: Download travel apps to know of any last-minute hotel deals, traffic jams, and flight delays.
By following these tips, you can immerse yourself in the festivities rather than let small obstacles ruin your holiday experience.
Thanksgiving is a popular travel holiday in the United States, and hotels usually get busier and more expensive. Still, if you check in early in the week, book in advance, or choose a less popular location, you can lower the cost and the likelihood of not getting a room in a hotel. If it’s too late to book a hotel, you might get lucky and snag a last-minute deal.