Holidays are usually for gatherings but many get-togethers are complicated or canceled because of COVID-19.
If you don’t want to be haunted by procrastination guilt, book your holiday trips by Halloween and you’ll be rewarded with low airfares unseen in recent years, an online travel booking service is recommending.
Travel costs are dramatically lower this year because fewer people are willing to make their traditional journeys home or to be with loved ones because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The service, Hopper, says in its 2020 Holiday Guidance Report that only 39% of those surveyed say they plan to travel this year, with 55% of them saying it will be their first trips since the pandemic began.
Other surveys have noted the relatively low percentage of holiday travelers this year. AAA’s survey found 67% are uncertain about taking a vacation and travel site Travelocity discovered 57% say they won’t be taking a holiday trip at all.
The advice to make reservations by Halloween is roughly in line with advice from some other major travel sites. Expedia, for instance, says the better prices will go to those who book 30 to 60 days ahead of Thanksgiving or the year-end holidays.
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Hopper says those who heed its advice to book by Halloween are less likely to be spooked by higher airfares. The site found that airfares will fall about 40% compared with last year to an average of $173 for Thanksgiving and $222 for the year-end holidays.
The scene at Washington Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C., was quite different in years past, when hordes of travelers headed out for the holidays. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
Those who opt to stay in hotels instead of with family or friends will also find bargains, Hopper says. Prices over the holidays typically are 8% to 10% lower than everyday rates.
Hopper says the top Thanksgiving destinations are Dallas, Miami and Tampa, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee, and Philadelphia. For the year-end holidays, Dallas, Tampa and Miami are also on the list, along with Houston and Orlando, Florida.
For those who hunt for vacation destinations to go for the holidays, Expedia says people typically gravitate to temperature extremes.
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Warm-weather destinations like those in Mexico, Florida and Hawaii are in demand along with ski hotspots such as Vail, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Lake Tahoe, with is split between Nevada and California.
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