- Booking your holiday travel now is the safe way to go.
- Last-minute airfare bargains might materialize, but this holiday season, it’s doubtful.
- The best time to book a ticket is September, found one analysis.
No, it’s not too early to start planning holiday travel.
It might seem early. Thanksgiving and winter holidays are months away. But experts predict the record demand that turned this summer into a chaotic travel season will carry over to the holidays. If you don’t start planning your trip now, you may be going nowhere.
“Book everything now,” says Tim Hentschel, CEO of HotelPlanner, a travel technology company. “This will ensure availability and act as a hedge against inflation and ongoing cost increases. If you wait until November and December, your winter holiday travel will only be more expensive.”
Demand for travel remains strong. Analysts at CBRE Hotels Research expect hotel rates to fully recover to 2019 levels this fall. The average price of a room in the US will rise almost 7% from last year to $134. Airfares soared by an astounding 33% between August 2021 and 2022. Fare-watchers expect the trend to continue, fueled by inflation and a pent-up desire to travel.
‘They should’ve helped me’:Booking through platforms like Expedia leaves some travelers stranded
Which day is the cheapest to fly?:When is best to book? Google Flights data shows cost trends
The airfare app Hopper predicts domestic airfares for Thanksgiving departure dates are averaging $350 round-tripan increase of 22% compared to the same time in 2019. For Christmas departures, fares are up 31% to $463.
Booking now is the safe way to go. But there are times when you’ll want to push the “buy” button and times when you’re better off waiting, experts said. And there are a