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If you have not booked your year-end getaway, you had better start now before airfares become more expensive.

With December being a popular time for family breaks, you have to be flexible in your choice of departure dates, if you want to get the best deal available.

Finder.com.au did a survey of airfares around Christmas and New Year  to popular holiday spots including Fiji, Bali, Hawaii and the Gold Coast to find out the cheapest day to fly during the festive season.

Many people think that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are the cheapest days to fly – they are not. This year, it is Christmas Eve that will offer the cheapest airfares, according to Finder.com.au.

With Christmas Eve being on a Sunday, that means most families will try to travel on Saturday, December 23 instead. Hence fares are much cheaper on Christmas Eve as the peak demand has passed, said the site’s editor-in-chief, Angus Kidman.

“No one really likes to be stuck in a transit lounge on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day. But if it can save you hundreds of dollars, it would totally be worth it,’’ said Kidman.

So Finder.com.au compared the cost of return airfares from Sydney to Honolulu for one person on December 24 and 27. A return flight is priced at $1283 on December 27 and $755 on December 24.

This means that a family of four travelling to Hawaii would save a substantial $1283 if they travelled on Christmas Eve.

If the thought of travelling on Christmas Eve does not appeal, your next best bet is to avoid booking flights on December 27.

Analysis by the comparative site showed that flying out on the day after Boxing Day is the most expensive day to fly.

But if you wait a few days, airfare prices will drop again on New Year’s Eve. 

Increasingly, many Australians are booking their year-end holiday flights later and later each year in the hope that airfares will plummet just before Christmas. The reality is that they are more likely to be hit by higher prices. So waiting is risky.

Low-cost carrier, Tigerair urged travellers to book their airfares sooner rather than later to avoid being hit by higher prices.

“The lowest fares are always the first to be sold and that’s why we encourage customers to book as early as possible to secure the best value airfare,’’ said a Tigerair spokesperson.

Jetstar also recommended the best way of snaring the lowest fares is to book early when there are most seats are available. In particular, low fares to Hawaii, Bali and Thailand are the first to be snapped up while the Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Cairns are popular domestic holiday spots.