Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flexibility key to better fares for air travel during holidays

Iowans who are planning one last vacation before the year is out need to book their flights within the next few days or face very expensive airfares. Travel consultant Jeanenne Tornatore says you might consider celebrating the holidays at home and waiting until after December 25th to get away.

“If you are flexible with your travel and you want to go during those off times, typically we see that the week following Christmas tends to be a less-traveled week,” Tornatore says. “Often, if you want to head to those popular destinations like Orlando or Vegas, going the week after the big holidays can be a really great time to go and a really great time to save.”

College football fans are headed for bowl games, as the Hawkeyes are playing in Florida and the Cyclones will be in Arizona. She says Iowans can save a bundle on bowl game trips by adjusting their schedules slightly. “Those days when most people are going to be traveling to and from that destination, which for a bowl game is probably the day before and the day after the game, if you can travel a couple of days early and be flexible with your travel and come back a day or two later, you’re going to avoid some of those crowds and you’re going to avoid the really packed flights,” Tornatore says.

“The more full your flight is, the more expensive your airline tickets are going to be.” She says the three most popular weeks for travel this year were or will be: Christmas, Thanksgiving and July 4th. Tornatore says many Iowans delayed traveling earlier in the year.

“What we saw in 2009 was that, at the beginning of the year, people were wondering if they were really going to be able to afford that vacation and what they saw as the year went on was that destinations were really making it a buyer’s market for travelers,” Tornatore says.

“Places they thought they couldn’t go for a vacation actually were within their reach.” During all of 2009, she says the most popular destinations for Iowans were: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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