Prepare for a Busy and Expensive Travel Season

High inflation, gas prices and hotel rates are not going to scare travelers. Passenger numbers continue to climb, and at a time of year when numbers are traditionally low: the fourth quarter.

Airlines, in particular, are expect big business, Delta Airlines, for example, posted a third-quarter profit of just $695 million, and predicted higher-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter — with revenue that would be above pre-pandemic levels. And United Airlines also reported a strong third quarter.

That means planes are full and airlines are making money again – and that’s before we even get to Turkey Day.

Holiday airfares are reflecting that demand and more: Thanksgiving week air travel costs an average of $468 this year, up nearly 50% from last year. And the cost of Christmas looks to be even more expensive, averaging $574. Fares are increasing by about 4% per week leading up to those holidays.

Thanksgiving is the busiest holiday travel season this year and every year. And because Christmas this year falls on a Sunday, more people will travel and start their holiday earlier, as much as 10 days ahead of December 25.

By car or by air, it’s overcrowded, and it’s going to be expensive.

A Strategy for Relatively Inexpensive Vacation Travel Have to ride on your celebration. More than 1,500 cruise ship itineraries currently have cabins that cost an average of less than $100 a day, and cruise lines are also offering discounts like shipboard credits and free shore excursions.

If you have some holiday flexibility, one way to save money is to take your own personal turkey day a week in advance and start your celebration the following Wednesday. In the travel industry, this is known as Dead Week, one of two each year: the week after Thanksgiving and the week after New Year’s. Hardly anyone is traveling, so airfares and hotel rates drop, highways aren’t congested, and even car rental costs drop.

And if you don’t mind seeing the family a little longer, airfares are expected to drop dramatically in the first quarter of 2022 — with the exception of Presidents Day weekend — all the way up to Memorial Day.

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