Over The Holidays, How To Prepare For Travel Chaos

In the wake of two years of stop-and-start COVID-19 restrictions, American travelers are ready to reengage in holiday travel this year. The travel booking app Hopper reports that almost 60% of Americans plan to travel over Thanksgiving or the winter holidays.

Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist, says there is a lot of demand, but fewer seats are available. In addition to raising labor costs, travel and tourism companies also raise jet fuel prices. Consumer Price Index data show that airfares increased nearly 43% in October. Around the holidays, hotel rates are expected to rise by almost 6.5%.

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Here’s what this means for your holiday gathering or getaway.

Flights Are Fewer And More Expensive

The number of flights to smaller destinations has declined due to airline schedule reductions. FlightAware spokesperson Kathleen Bangs says residents of smaller cities no longer have direct access to a larger hub airport. She says, “The issue is it’s much harder for the regionals to find pilots.”

Atmosphere Research Group analyst Henry Harteveldt says airlines are still operating fewer flights than before the pandemic: the number of seats available is down by 3%, while the number of flights is down by 15%. He said, “Airlines have been rebuilding their domestic schedules, but they’re still not operating the same number of flights they were before the pandemic.”

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Hotel Rates Are Higher Due To Fewer Perks

Recent survey results by Deloitte show that half of the holiday travelers stay at hotels and home rentals. Demand from higher-income households will keep driving up prices for those travelers. Michael Daher, leader of travel hospitality and services at Deloitte, said, “I think we will see hotels and private rentals be very busy this holiday season, especially in warm locations, ski locations and big cities.” Due to a lack of staff, hotels will offer fewer services and personal touches, resulting in higher rates.

These tips from travel industry experts will help you save money and have a stress-free vacation:

  • Book now before it’s too late
  • If possible, work remotely
  • Consider flying direct or giving yourself more time to connect
  • Stay at a refundable hotel
  • Don’t be rigid