TAMPA, Fla. — If you’re looking to book vacations for Christmas or even spring break, you’ll want to start doing so now. Experts warn prices are only going up as demand for travel continues to increase.
“Airlines are still trying to ramp up from being ramped down for almost 18 months,” said Donald Oneal, President of Travel World, a travel agency in the Tampa Bay area.
Airlines are working toward operating with their full fleet, but Oneal predicts it’s going to be mid-next year before that happens. So for the Christmas travel season experts warn, you’ll need to be flexible.
“Christmas holidays are expected to be busier than 2019, now that’s a little bit hard to buy into when you consider they’re flying fewer planes. It may mean though that they’re flying those planes at near 100 percent,” said Oneal.
That leaves less slack in the system when things do go wrong, but a good rule of thumb is to travel on the off-days.
“Those dates between Dec. 20-28 are going to be the most expensive unless you fly on Christmas Day itself,” said Willis Orlando, Product Operations Specialist with Scott’s Cheap Flights.
While international travel to and from the U.S. is back open, experts say domestic travel is still a big hit. Things like ski trips and leisure destinations.
“Some of the biggest destinations people are going to, Vegas, Miami, and you guessed it, Tampa Bay,” said Orlando.
That’s true for spring break, too, as people work to use their travel vouchers from previously canceled cruises and air travel, which are coming up on their expiration.
“All the way up to really about the end of June, if you can go July or later in the year, pricing, you can probably save about 20-30 percent,” said Oneal.
And if you book your fares now, you’ll likely save money there, too.
“Prices are depressed, and a lot of these fare sells are going through March, April, even May, but we do not expect that to continue,” said Orlando.
And if you’re looking to travel but the changing restrictions are causing stress, Oneal recommends going with a travel agent so they can keep up with the changes for you.
“A lot of people think using a travel agent will cost them more money. It actually saves you money. We shop it for you. We keep up with it. If the price drops, we file for your refunds,” said Oneal.
Oneal also recommends purchasing travel insurance to cover the costs of canceled flights or the cost of lost luggage.