The convenience of modern travel has shrunk the world. While a large segment of the people still cling to Christmas traditions – stay home with the family, exchange gifts, hear the midnight mass and share a celebratory Christmas buffet and sing or listen to Christmas carols – there is a growing number of people who prefer to spend the long holiday someplace else for a novel kind of Yuletide experience.
Haven’t booked yet? Expect prices to go higher…
If you are a holiday traveller who set his sights on a beautiful destination this Christmas, statements like this can dampen your holiday spirit:
“We don’t expect prices to decrease, so travelers should ‘look for the sale’ and travel on off-peak days and times,” Orbitz Worldwide spokeswoman Marita Hudson Thomas said.
According to a survey from online travel site Orbitz, compared with last year’s prices airfares are up for all three major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Changes in hotel prices vary.
If you still intend to push through with your travel this coming Christmas, you need to read the article “Holiday travelers: More expected this season – For those looking to travel this holiday season, flexibility is key” written by Casey Smith for Tulsa World – Business Section.
When you read how Smith detailed the general trend of increases in airline fares, travellers would be thinking twice if travelling is a good decision for Christmas 2014. While the hotel rates are either flat or going down, which is encouraging, the prices for airline tickets from thanksgiving to New Year will be hitting their highest points later than November 18 for Thanksgiving and mid-December for Christmas and New Year.
If you got the traveller’s itch, how do you deal with this?
“For the best deals on holiday travel, Spears [Greg Spears, CEO of Spears Travel], recommends booking nine months to a year in advance.
In general arrangements right now are picked over and pricey, but remaining flexible and traveling on off-peak days will lead to the best options in terms of price, he said.
“Those tend to be value days to travel, so if you’re traveling someplace for the holiday and can celebrate the day after and travel the day of [the holiday] that’s going to save you money,” Spears said.
“If you can travel on Thanksgiving and say come back the middle of the next week, you might get some good rates because it’s going to be off-peak.”
Debbie Taylor, vice president of vacation and group travel services at World Travel, also noted flexibility as key for those still looking to book a trip this holiday season.
“We can look for you, and we’re happy to do so,” Taylor said. “But you’re going to have to have a great deal of flexibility.”
If you intend to push through with your travel plans, your best strategy is “flexibility.” For instance, your family can plan together a multigenerational travel including river cruises that are very popular right now, yet not overly crowded at this time of the year. Taylor suggested this type of travel rather than go to popular Christmas destinations that are very crowded with holidaying tourists – New York, Lapland in Finland, Rome, Aspen Colorado, Boston. The number of holidaymakers arriving in droves in these top Christmas destinations is making the prices spike just before the holidays.
If you are just thinking and planning your holiday now, it may be too late. Your only option is to exercise flexibility, if you want to give in to your itch to travel.
On the other hand, if you are thinking of a holiday travel by 2015, now is the great time to book your holiday. Learn your lesson now if you want to enjoy the best deals ever.
Expect More Problems
With an improving economy and lower fuel prices, you must have noticed fairly strong travel volumes this year. No, don’t expect the airlines to pass their savings to you and the other passengers. Instead, expect them to capitalize on you earning better this year to be able to afford a costlier plane ticket. With so many interested travellers, seats can be harder to find too. So, with increased demand, you know what will happen next… more expensive airline fares.
This is the essence of the article entitled Holiday Travel Likely to be Even More Challenging This Year, authored by Mark Huffman, a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004.
In addition to the higher fare prices, Dean Headley, Airline Quality Rating co-author and associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University, says holiday travel may prove even less pleasant than usual.
“During the past several years, the holiday travel period has continued to be a challenging time for travelers, and with industrywide seat capacity reduction, it will remain a stressful travel experience,” Headley said…
“The best bet for the consumer is to travel as early before the actual holiday or as late as possible afterward, and always leave room for schedule changes,” Headley said.
Travel tips: Dealing with Holiday Travel Problems
This article offers some practical travel advices so you don’t get stuck in the airport longer than necessary.
One, when booking your flight, it is important not to travel when the time is less busy.
Two, make sure to check if the flight has not been cancelled and it is leaving right on schedule before going to the airport.
Three, be there early or at least two hours before the scheduled flight.
Four, don’t fall in line just to get the boarding pass. Print the boarding pass after you booked the flight or store the information in your phone that can be scanned at the airport.
Fifth, make sure the gifts you are taking are not wrapped to avoid being stuck in the security.
And finally, don’t just rely on the published fares when picking a flight. Headley said, “Ticket prices may appear to be reasonable to slightly higher, but when the fees hit you, you truly feel that the overall cost of travel has gone up.”
Why are there too many complications just when you are looking forward to a restful and fun holidays? It is because this is a good time for airlines to cut that extra profit.
But then again, there’s FLEXIBILITY and there’s EARLY PLANNING, two great strategies to beat the airline prices smartly!