The latest figures compiled by travel industry analysts indicate Thanksgiving holiday trips are going to cost substantially more in 2022.
Take a look at some of the numbers driving an uptick in the costs of everything from air travel to hotels and a few suggestions for minimizing the financial crunch:
25+ million: Travel-booking app Hopper’s latest projections indicated that U.S. airlines have already sold more than 25 million seats for Thanksgiving week alone, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Dallas Fort-Worth International and Denver International projected to be the busiest airports, according to The Washington Post.
$350: The average amount travelers can expect to pay for a “good deal” on a domestic flight, or roughly 43% more than in 2021. Meanwhile, “good” prices for international travel will hover around $795 per flight.
According to Hopper’s latest report, 2022 is expected to be the most expensive in the past five years for domestic and international travel, USA Today reported.
“A combination of pent-up travel demand, rising fuel costs and labor shortages [is] likely causing price hikes,” Paul Jacobs, general manager at online travel agency Kayak North America, told Forbes.
Meanwhile, Priceline CEO Brett Keller told the Post that domestic round-trip airfare for the Thanksgiving holiday is currently hovering about 35% higher than in 2021, while hotel prices are up about 11% and rental car prices are roughly flat.
- How to save: Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist, told the Post that time is running out to maximize savings because airfares, on average, are increasing by $10 to $15 per day, a figure that will more than triple between now and Thanksgiving. “If you wait until next week to book, you could end up paying on average $30 or $40 [more] than if you book today,” Berg said.
$90: Choosing the least traveled days to book your flight can save about $90 per ticket, Berg told USA Today, noting that those days for 2022 are Monday, Nov. 21 and Thursday, Nov. 24. In turn, the same logic applies to return trips, making Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Wednesday, Nov. 30 the lowest-cost days to head home.
$173: According to Hopper, the average hotel room booked for holiday stays is going to run $173 per night, or roughly 14% more than the year-ago average, the Post reported. The booking app recommended checking in to your hotel by Tuesday of Thanksgiving week to receive the best rates.
- How to save: Berg told USA Today that hotel patrons can save big by waiting until the last minute to book in some major cities, as long as location and available amenities are negotiable. “A lot of them are going to have empty rooms, so at the last minute, hotels actually (drop) prices. If you are flexible enough to wait until you arrive at a destination or head into the city to actually book your hotel, you can typically save an average of 25% off the price you would have paid if you planned it a month or maybe six weeks in advance,” she told the newspaper.
7%: According to AirDNA, which tracks the vacation-rental industry, Thanksgiving rentals are up about 7% year-over-year, the Post reported.
- How to save: AirDNA recommends considering mountain or lake properties or those in small cities and rural areas, where prices have remained more stable since 2021.
36: According to AAA, the national average to fill up your gas tank is currently hovering around $3.76 per gallon, or about 36 cents more per gallon than road trip warriors paid in 2021.
- How to save: AAA, among other sites, offers a map of current average gas prices nationwide, while apps such as GasBuddy, Waze and WEX Connect can help you locate the cheapest gas in your area.
Bottom line: Plan the excursion that best suits your specific needs.
Forbes compared the three most popular modes of holiday transportation – flying, driving and taking a train – and determined that grabbing a coach-class Amtrak ticket presents the most affordable option in the lion’s share of cases. But there are exceptions to every rule.
As per Forbes: “…round-trip travel from Orlando to New York is a few bucks less expensive if you fly ($198) than ride ($201). However, the savings are evident when you look at New York to Atlanta; flying will cost you $431, whereas an Amtrak ticket is around $164.”
Travelers must ask themselves, though, what their time is worth because that New York-to-Atlanta trek on an Amtrak train will run about 18 hours, compared with only two and a half hours on a direct flight, the financial news outlet reported.
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