SEATTLE, Sept. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year,
millions of Americans take to the roads and skies during November
and December, whether they're visiting friends and family, or in
search of sand and sun. In a typical year, the time to start
solidifying those holiday plans would be nearly upon us. However,
2020 is not a typical year. Between changing travel restrictions,
health and safety considerations and shifting priorities, potential
travelers have a lot to navigate this holiday season.
For those considering a trip, Expedia® analyzed
flight, lodging and car rental trends for the holidays to help
answer some of the top questions facing travelers:
- When to book flights and stays
- How to avoid crowds and save money on car rental
- Why flexibility matters more than ever
Nisreene Atassi, Sr. Director at Expedia: "So many people rely
on travel during the holidays and winter months – for relaxation,
recreation, or as a time to reconnect with loved ones. Like so many
other things this year, the holidays may not look the same. But for
those who want or need to get away, we don't want the uncertainty
and planning process to be a source of stress. We've made several
key updates to our site to ensure we are delivering flexible travel
solutions and highlighting health and safety information. We want
to give travelers the tools they need to be able to make plans they
feel confident and excited about this holiday season."
When to book flights and accommodations
Air travel: Early bird catches the fare
In past years, it wasn't unusual for those who booked holiday
airfare more than 90 days out to pay more, not less
than average. However, average ticket price trends this year
indicate that getting an earlier start could potentially pay
Looking at average ticket prices for the fall and holiday
timeframe, airfare prices dip down in September before beginning to
climb in early October through the end of the year. However,
average ticket prices overall are still lower than last year,
particularly over Thanksgiving. That means early birds will likely
see some really great fares compared to last year.
- Bottom line: For those planning to travel for
Thanksgiving, Expedia recommends booking flights between 60-90 days
out in order to take advantage of the current lower year-on-year
prices. For December or Christmas travel, the sweet spot is likely
30-60 days out.
Because airfare prices can fluctuate, the best way to ensure you
don't miss a deal is to set up a price alert for your preferred
route and be flexible on departure and return dates.
Accommodations: Flexibility is fool proof
When it comes to booking a hotel or vacation home, it pays to
consider the popularity of your destination. Expedia data reveals
many of the destinations seeing early demand for the holidays are
warm-weather leisure destinations in Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii. Domestic ski and snow destinations
like Lake Tahoe, Vail and Jackson Hole and are also trending in
popularity. This indicates that opportunistic travelers are already
beginning to take advantage of deals and jumping on the chance to
take a long overdue vacation.
- Bottom line: For travelers aiming to visit a popular
beach, resort or tourist destination, Expedia recommends booking
accommodations early and opting for refundable rates. This is
especially relevant to vacation rentals, which are expected to be
in-demand for families staying together for the holidays.
For extra peace of mind, travelers can review health and safety
policies for more than 400,000 hotels and vacation rentals right on
Expedia.com and use the recently added "Enhanced Cleaning" filter
to narrow search results.
Car rental tips
Like hotels and airlines, many rental car companies have rolled
out enhanced cleaning measures and flexible payment options in
recent months that are easy to find and compare on Expedia.com.
Travelers can choose rates that allow payment at the counter and
- Bottom line: The lowest price might not be the best
choice if flexibility is a priority; often "reserve now, pay at
pick-up" rates are a few dollars more but the trade-off to cancel
without penalty might be worth it.
Here are a few other tips to avoid the crowds and save money on
your holiday ride:
- Whether you're flying into a destination or renting close to
home, it pays to shop around. Rates at airport and city locations
often differ so compare all locations in the vicinity to find the
best price and selection.
- Avoid starting your rental on the day before Thanksgiving when
rates tend to be higher (30% higher than average in 2019) and lines
longer. Prices tend to be lower for pick-ups starting on the Friday
or Saturday before the holiday.
- The best day to rent a car for the Christmas holiday is the
Friday before the holiday, according to 2019 data. On average,
rates were 15 percent cheaper on this day. Christmas Day renters
paid the highest daily rates.
- Some rental car agencies can only guarantee specific vehicle
types on a first-come-first-served basis, so try to pick up early
and be sure to notify them in the event of a flight delay.
Tips for booking flexible travel
Unsurprisingly, flexibility continues to be one of the biggest
factors for travelers, and luckily Expedia and the travel industry
is making it easier to find and book these options.
- Find flexible stays on Expedia.com by filtering for "free
cancellation" or "reserve now, pay later" and make sure to choose a
refundable room type.
- Make note of any deadlines to cancel for a full refund – in
many instances you can cancel up to 24 hours before check-in but
for some vacation homes, the deadline could be two weeks
- Try to avoid restrictive airfares that prohibit changes or
non-refundable rates. Any savings you might see in the short term
won't be worth it if you end up needing to change your plans.
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travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com
(https://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the
latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation
destinations, affordable airfare, hotel deals, car rentals,
destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities,
attractions, services and travel apps.
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