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It’s now less than 4 weeks until Thanksgiving and less than 8 weeks until Christmas. On a recent morning TV show segment on travel, the travel commentator was talking about the cost of flights during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Air fare prices were up between 7-10% over last year and, this time, it wasn’t due to fuel costs. This time, it was due to load capacity. Airlines are reducing the number of flights available, which reduces the number of seats and brings up the pricing. This all makes sense to me, as a travel professional but does it make sense to travelers?
Since My Vacation Lady doesn’t book airfare only- just vacation packages with airfare included, the cost of airfare plays a major part in the cost of a vacation package.
Recently, we’ve gotten requests for a good number of Christmas week vacations. In some cases, I just asked the clients if they had the ability to travel at a different time since I already knew that the cost of the airfare + limited availability at the resorts would be way over the budgets that they had in mind. Although we are not in the habit of talking clients OUT of traveling, we do need to be realistic. Going away during Christmas week to the Caribbean is not going to work on a $2500-3000 budget when airfare alone is over $1000 per person.
So what is a traveler supposed to do when they want to vacation during the holiday season?
- Book EARLY. We have said this before, but it is worth repeating— book Christmas vacations around Easter and book Easter vacations by Labor Day.
- Be flexible with dates. Sometimes you may find availability by traveling on Christmas morning or New Years Day morning when you may not find availability on the day after Christmas or on Jan 2. If you can hold off on your vacation until after Jan 5, the prices will be lower and there will be more flights and hotel rooms available.
- Consider departing from different airports and flying into less popular airports to get availability. If you only want to fly from Newark to Punta Cana on Dec 26 for a week, the current rate of airfare is $1875 per person. Leaving from JFK is running $400 per person less.
- Consider connecting flights. Taking a flight to Punta Cana with a connection from LaGuardia can save almost $850 per person
- Be realistic with your budget. We don’t make up pricing. The prices that we can offer you are going to be based on a combination of airfare + the resort. If you only have $2500 to spend during Christmas week, consider a destination that you can drive to.
We are in the business of making our clients happy so instead of spending a ton of money on a mediocre Christmas week vacation, how about saving the money and booking a fabulous vacation at a different time of the year?
If you are thinking about going away during Presidents week, Valentines Day or Easter week, book it now. While not quite as bad, anytime schools or businesses are closed for a holiday, airfare goes up so booking early is key.