"They really need to come in early to get the best pricing and to get a seat on the plane," travel agent Leonora Ragab said.
The airlines have trimmed their schedules. Fewer seats typically mean higher prices. By some accounts, fares are 20 to 30 percent higher than last year.
"It's such an inconvenience with the tickets and the baggage costs," traveler Steve Martin said. "What choice do you have?"
Some travelers typically wait until the last minute, assuming they'll get a deal. But experts say that strategy may mean you won't go anywhere at all this year.
"I'm going to go on the internet right now and check it out as soon as I get back to work," traveler Debbie Johnson said.
Further complicating this holiday season is both Christmas and New Years Day fall on Saturday, which means plenty of people will be vying to travel the same week.
"If you're flexible, go Tuesday to Tuesday or Wednesday to Wednesday. You'll always pay more on a weekend and especially a holiday weekend," Ragab said.
If you're traveling with a large group, it makes sense to make your itinerary now.
At Newark airport today, there were some travelers who have already booked their seats.
"We booked five months ahead, so it's more than we had to do last year," Lisa Mali said. "I just know if I do it earlier I'm better off," Linda Holtzman said.
Other than plain procrastination, some travel agents say their customers are putting off making their travel plans because they're insecure about their jobs and aren't sure they'll be able to afford it.