By Brian New


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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The average round-trip domestic flight is nearly $400, according to FareCompare.com, and during the holiday season ticket prices can soar.

“Holidays are really about getting a better bad deal because there are no good deals,” said travel expert Rick Seaney, co-founder of FareCompare.com.

However, with the help of Seaney, we came up with five ways to save on air travel this holiday season.

Buy on Tuesday at 3 p.m. – According the research done by Farecompare.com, the best time to go online and book your flight is at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. While most airlines put seats on sale Monday evening, Seaney said wait until Tuesday to book.

“That’s when all the other airlines have matched that sale and then you have the maximum number of cheapest seat in the market,” he explained.

Seaney said the biggest mistake when booking a flight for the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas is to procrastinate. He said every day in October that you put off buying your ticket; you can add another $5 to the price.

♦Book tickets separate – When booking tickets for the whole family, consider buying them online one or two at a time. The way most online reservation systems are set up is all tickets in your party have to be the same price. For example, if there are only two discounted seats left and you book four at once, the system won’t show you those two lower price fares.

♦Travel the first two weeks of December – If you are looking for a deal, you will find some of the cheapest air fares of the year the first two weeks of December. During these “dead weeks”, deep discounts can also be found on cruises and family vacation packages.

♦Vacation packages cheaper than flight alone – If you’re stuck buying a plane ticket last minute, Seaney suggests checking out the vacation packages. Often a flight with a rental car or a hotel is cheaper than the flight alone.

♦Know the luggage restriction and exception – Nothing will negate a good deal more than showing up to the airport with a bag that’s overweight or a carry-on that won’t fit. Several airlines are cracking down on carry-on size, so even if you’ve carried the bag on before, check that it meets the size limitations.

Most airlines, however; will cut families a break when it comes to strollers and car seats. Most will allow families to carry them on for free.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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