Holiday travel to New York City // (c) Javier Gutierrez Acedo

Combat Rising Holiday Travel Prices in 2013

Holiday travel to New York City // (c) Javier Gutierrez Acedo
Holiday travel to New York City // (c) Javier Gutierrez Acedo

Do you feel obliged to travel during the holiday season? Hotwire says you do and statistics show that holiday travelers are going to be spending more this Thanksgiving and Christmas. How much more, you ask? Anywhere between 3 and 8 percent. According to the Hotwire third-annual  Hotwire.com American Travel Behavior Survey, conducted online in October 2013 on behalf of Hotwire by Harris Interactive, American adults will spend a total of $72 billion on obligatory holiday travel this year ($14 billion on Thanksgiving travel and $58 billion on Christmas travel).

Compared to Thanksgiving 2012:

  • Hotel prices are currently up three percent.
  • Air prices for the top 20 US markets are currently up eight percent.
  • Car prices are up seven percent.

Compared to Christmas 2012:

  • Hotel prices currently up four percent.
  • Air prices for the top 20 US markets are currently up six percent.
  • Car prices are up four percent.

Hotwire offered some tips on when to book holiday travel:

According to Hotwire, many cities may see higher-than-normal hotel demand during the winter months, but not necessarily over Thanksgiving weekend, since many travelers stay with family or make the holiday a day trip. So, travelers should see some pretty deep discounts in the coming weeks, but the steepest price drops for bookings will occur within a few days of arrival. In fact, many hotels are offering a discount for day-of bookings that can average around 20 percent. Also, many hotels raise rates or require a two-night stay to protect their rooms on the weekends, so try to arrive Thursday and leave Saturday.

Larger cities across the country are seeing hotel deals over Thanksgiving, including San Diego and Boston. Chicago in particular is a bargain as the city is experiencing some large price drops due to a shifted convention schedule.

For travel during Christmas, Hotwire is seeing strong discounts now, waiting for those “Nightfall Deals”, or day-of discounts, can help travelers save big on hotel stays. So, if you can, wait until the last minute to book your hotel room. Christmas is a little different when it comes to finding airfare deals. With Christmas Evefalling on a Tuesday this year, we recommend avoiding travel on that day at all costs.

As noted above, many popular U.S. destinations are showing low hotel rates throughout December, including Chicago, New York City, Portland and Minneapolis. However, over Christmas, Hotwire is also seeing low rates for Canadian destinations in their off-season such as Toronto and Vancouver. For air, Spirit Airlines has increased the number of flights for Las Vegas and Ft. Lauderdale, which is resulting in price drops for both destinations. In addition to Ft. Lauderdale, Floridian cities Tampa and Orlando are each experiencing price drops of five percent for Christmas, while Phoenix is showing a 10 percent airfare drop.

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