Why you should book your summer vacation now — or at least start

We have been busy booking summer trips at TPG. In fact, some of us have even started booking trips further into the fall, winter break, and even early 2024.

Airfares are expected to increase from this spring to the peak of summer, although average airfares are not expected to reach the highs of last summer. Airlines for America are predicting the number of Americans traveling by air will surpassing pre-pandemic levels this spring and summer will see even higher demand.

Travel website Hopper predicts airfares will peak at an average of $350 this summer for domestic flights. That’s down more than 10% from last summer’s $400 level but well above the pre-pandemic average. Higher demand and less capacity mean prices will remain higher this year than they were possibly a few years ago.

Brian Sumers, editor of Aviation observer. After all, the longer you wait, the less likely you are to make a lot of money.

Is it too late to lock down summer plans and get the best deals? Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking of traveling this summer.

Now is the time to book summer flights for the best deals


If you haven’t finished your summer flights yet, now is the time to start, especially if you’re looking to travel abroad.

For domestic trips, you should at least start tracking prices for the destinations you’re going to.

“The ideal spot for summer travel is two to three months before your departure date,” says Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist. “There’s nothing too urgent to book an August holiday right now. However, it’s important to start monitoring prices.”

For example, Hopper recommends booking in early April for a trip in June. If you want to travel over an extended Memorial Day weekend, you should book through April 9.

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However, international flights is a different story.

“Travelers should generally book three to five months in advance for international flights…for the next few weeks,” says Berg.

Specifically, if you want to visit Australia or Asia this summer, Berg recommends booking your tickets as early as possible. If you’re looking to travel to Europe or South America, you might have a few more weeks, she adds.

Related: When is the best time to book flights to get the cheapest airfares in 2023?

Other experts we spoke with had similar suggestions.

“Whenever you’re planning to fly this summer, always set fare alerts to ensure you’re getting the best deal,” says John E. DiScala, founder and editor-in-chief of Johnny Jet. “. “Skillful travelers can even create one after they book their tickets that way, if the price drops they can get a travel credit.”

While there are several ways you can track prices, we are fans of Google Flightsbecause it’s easy to use and let the site do the price tracking.

Prices usually go up the longer you wait

Villefranche sur mer, Côte d’Azur, Frankreich. IMAGES ALETHEIA97/GETTY

Prices continue to increase month by month, according to Hopper’s Consumer Issues Index Report published in February.

The average airfare for February was $277 for flights to the United States. As mentioned, by the summer, that number is expected to grow to an average price of $350.

Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer price index tell a similar story. The report shows that airfares have increased by nearly 26% between January 2022 and January 2023.

Inflation continues to be a major factor in pushing prices higher. Jet fuel has recent decrease, but prices are still historically high. Cost more for many hotels, food and entertainment.

Related: Hotel deals are scarce this summer: TPG’s tips for finding them

While demand is up for everything in the tourism industry, supply is down due to labor shortages, including lack of pilots and other airport workers, keep the supply lower than necessary.

“Airline prices are a function of supply and demand,” Sumers said. “Airlines have stopped using planes during the pandemic and some are experiencing a shortage of pilots, so the supply of seats is much less than usual. At the same time, demand has skyrocketed. simple economics determines what will happen. Prices will skyrocket.”

However, Sumers notes that there may be some deals during delivery or on long-haul routes in business class as business travel has yet to fully resume. “But from mid-June to mid-August, it’s going to be very busy out there,” he said.

Berg echoed this sentiment.

“What we’re seeing for hotels is that they’re 20%-30% more expensive now than they were last year,” she said. “There’s a lot of demand, costs are higher, and people really want to go on vacation, so they’re willing to pay more.”

Many hotels even sell out early — especially in popular European destinations. In fact, some hotels are already fully booked for summer days, so if you have a specific intention to stay, it’s best to lock in your stay as soon as possible.

Summer travel deals are still available


There’s some good news for those who still haven’t booked travel for the summer of 2023. There will be cheap flights if you choose the right time, many of which are marked through TPG . Transaction Alertso be sure to sign up.

In fact, we’ve shared an incredible number of flight deals to some of the most popular destinations on the planet, including Barcelona, London, milan And Dublin. Discount providers like Norse also help bring prices down to historically expensive areas.

It’s not just that cash prices can be cheap. Sometimes, you can use your points and miles to get great deals — and even cancel or rebook your trip later, if there’s an even better deal.

For example, this Agreement to fly green miles to Europe starts at 12,750 miles each way from Miami and 18,375 miles each way from Austin, Texas.

There are also plenty of travel deals out there, including one day trip this summer for only $69. You can even book a cruise to Europe this June for only $499.

Related: 6 ways to get a deal on a cruise

Use improved commuting flexibility to your advantage

Waikiki, Hawaii April 2021. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS

During the height of the pandemic, consumers suddenly found themselves with more power as travel demand plummeted, making it much easier for airlines and hotels to change or cancel bookings. and cheaper).

Many hotels waive change fee and early cancellation fees, while airlines make even basic economy Tickets are more flexible. Some airlines have even ended mileage cancellation fees.

While some consumer-friendly policies have been withdrawn, many will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

For example, United Airlines has a famous saying remove change fees “forever.” You’ll still have to pay any fare difference when you change flights, but you can at least benefit from no change fees now in many cases.

However, restrictions on basic economy tickets are backalthough they are generally still more flexible than they were before the pandemic.

Usually, it’s best to avoid booking these base fares unless you’re sure you won’t need to change or cancel your ticket. DiScala adds that they will also prevent you from benefiting from the discount, as you won’t be able to change your ticket to save money due to the fees charged.

Hotels also have more restrictions, but as long as you book at a refundable rate, you can make changes to your reservation until a specific date (usually a few days in advance). when your stay begins).

Related: Hotel and Flight Myths Broken: Does Your Booking Method Really Matter?

And of course, many airlines have done it more consumer-friendly home seating ruleswith some go so far as to guarantee to put you on another flight for free if they cannot provide shared seats for families.

bottom line

Now is the time to plan and book your 2023 summer travel.

While you’ll still have time to book flights within the US without paying more than you need to, it’s a good idea to set Google Flights notifications for dates and destinations you might want to book so you don’t have to. Overpriced for your stay — or found unavailable at all.

This is even more true for international travel.

For summer trips abroad, it’s a good idea to book early — or as soon as you find a price that suits your budget — as some options to popular regions like Europe may run out. tickets this summer. And then, even if you do manage to win a last-minute booking, chances are you’ll end up paying more than you did in previous months.

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