Amidst a summer marked by a notable surge in travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported a staggering 227 million screenings since Memorial Day. Despite the relentless heat and the leaves yet to reveal their vibrant hues, experts are suggesting that now might be the opportune moment to commence planning your next adventure.
Take Courtney Pohlman of Chicago, for instance. While she was gearing up for her Labor Day escapade to the Dominican Republic, she was also busy locking in a Christmas sojourn to the enchanting city of Paris.
Pohlman cheerfully noted, “I kept an eye on flight prices, and they were surprisingly affordable. So I decided to snatch them up.”
Hayley Berg, the chief economist at airfare tracker Hopper, offers valuable counsel for those considering holiday travel plans, advising them to finalize their bookings by October 14th.
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“It’s the ideal window,” Berg emphasizes. “This includes both Thanksgiving and Christmas travel. We often procrastinate when it comes to booking Christmas flights, and that’s when we miss out on the best deals.”
However, not everyone adheres to this foresighted approach.
The Hedayat sisters, Camellia, Samira, and Nadia, confess to being last-minute travelers, typically reserving their flights just a week before departure. On the other hand, individuals like LeRoy Fletcher and Denise Brown-Fletcher prefer to secure their tickets around “late September,” a timeline that aligns with recommendations from travel experts.
LeRoy Fletcher elucidates, “The goal is to secure your reservations two months in advance to secure favorable pricing.”
The trend in airfare prices has been distinctly downward, with 11 out of the last 14 months witnessing consistent drops. Hopper’s data indicates that domestic flight costs averaged $226 for a round trip during the Labor Day holiday, marking an 11% reduction from the previous year and an impressive 20% decrease from the rates in 2019. European flights have also exhibited a decline in prices, with an average cost hovering around $1,130—lower than last year but higher than the rates in 2019.
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Conversely, international airfares are predicted to remain elevated for the remainder of the year, as stated by Berg.
“This holiday season, we anticipate international airfares will stay above pre-pandemic levels,” Berg cautioned. “Therefore, for travelers accustomed to embarking on international getaways during the holidays, we might recommend considering domestic or regional routes, which are likely to be more budget-friendly.”
When embarking on the quest for the most enticing deals, experts emphasize the importance of maintaining flexibility regarding travel dates and destinations. Avoiding bookings on traditionally busy days and contemplating the use of nearby airports can unveil potential savings that might otherwise remain undiscovered.