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Tips to score cheaper airline tickets for Thanksgiving

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 5:31am  ET

WASHINGTON - Timing is everything in life, especially in buying a flight to see grandma for Thanksgiving.

A month before Americans give thanks and stuff their faces is the popular time to start shopping for flights.

Travel experts say deals are out there for families with some wiggle room. Those with firm plans may need to think about a garage sale for extra cash.

The key (you'll never guess) is this: Don't fly when everyone else wants to fly.

"Leaving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then coming back on the Sunday after Thanksgiving -- that's where you're going to see ticket shock," says Tom Parsons, CEO of Bestfares.com.

"The more flexible you are, the bigger the savings," he says.

In general, the cheapest flights around Thanksgiving depart on Sunday or Monday and return Thanksgiving day or the morning after it.

The difference can be hundreds of dollars.

Traveling to Boston from the Washington area ranges from $183 on the low end to $420 on the high end. To Orlando, the fares range from $329 to $609, Parsons says.

Or, if you feel like ditching the family altogether, the deals to Europe are among some of the best of the year.

Round trip flights to a number of European capitals are going for less than $800.

Why not take a trip to Turkey this Thanksgiving?

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