Travel could be expensive this holiday season

Hong Kong, Airport, Christmas
Photo credit Getty Images

If you're planning to travel over the holidays, you better get your airline tickets now. With the price of nearly everything on the rise, it should come as no surprise that travel experts are expecting an expensive holiday season.

New reports indicate airfare will soon begin to rise for travel from mid-November until just after New Year's.

According to travel app Hopper, significant factors including jet fuel prices, fewer flights scheduled and two years of pent up holiday travel demand will combine this year to drive Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares to their highest in the last five years.

Hopper estimates that for Thanksgiving, roundtrip domestic airfares will average out at about $350 dollars -- that's 43% higher than last year and a leap of 22% compared to pre-pandemic.

International airfares for Thanksgiving are expected to average $795 for a roundtrip flight, which is up 41% compared to last year and 25% from 2019.

Those prices are going to rise slowly as Thanksgiving approaches, Hopper warned, so be sure to start monitoring prices now and expect to book before mid October for the best deal.

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For Christmas, domestic airfare is currently averaging $463 per ticket -- 39% higher than last year and up 31% from 2019 -- while international airfare has risen to $1,300 per ticket -- an increase of 26% compared to 2019, and 20% compared to 2018, according to Hopper.

The closer we get to December 25, the higher those costs will be.

"Monitoring prices for deals will be key to getting a good price this year," Hopper says.

So, when is the best time to fly?

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Hopper says departing the weekend ahead of Thanksgiving and returning the weekend after are the most expensive travel dates. To save the most money, the app suggests departing the Monday of Thanksgiving week and returning any week day of the following week.

Since Christmas falls over a weekend this year, the "bookend days" (Thursday, Friday and Monday) will be the most expensive to fly, according to hopper. Flying out on the Monday or Tuesday ahead of Christmas weekend, and returning the Tuesday or Wednesday after Christmas Day will offer the most savings.

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