SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Despite Thanksgiving travel prices that are rising with each passing day, Americans are still holding off on booking their holiday travel. Hotwire.com® today revealed that of those U.S. adults planning to travel for Turkey Day this year, 78 percent had not yet booked their travel (e.g., airfare, car rental, hotel) as of October 26. This according to a poll conducted online on their behalf by Harris Interactive among over 2,000 adults ages 18 and older.
While the percentage is slightly lower than last year’s number (82%), it appears that many Americans are still waiting until the last minute despite the rising cost of travel in 2012, and could endure expensive travel costs as a result. The good news is that Hotwire® has last minute deals and expert advice to help out procrastinating travelers.
“Thanksgiving airfare and hotel prices are up compared to last year, and they’re likely to increase even more as we get closer to the holiday,” said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group. “Booking last minute travel can be risky during these busy times, but it’s not impossible to nab a deal. Procrastinating travelers are just going to have to be a bit savvier and more vigilant in order to score savings over the next few weeks.”
Hotwire recommends using the following five tips to help last-minute bookers save money this Thanksgiving:
1. Book your plane tickets ASAP. Airlines started hiking fares up just after Halloween, and with fewer flights and more people wanting to fly, planes are already crowded. So start your searches now, and if you see a good deal, book it.
2. Consider flying into an alternate airport that can offer cheaper fares. For example, consider Oakland in place of San Francisco, Ft. Lauderdale in place of Miami, or Baltimore in place of Washington, D.C. Low-cost carriers like JetBlue, Southwest, Allegiant and Virgin America have all been expanding routes this year, and many of these airlines call these smaller airports their home.
3. Avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after as these are the most expensive days by far. To save, either extend your trip, flying out early in the week and returning the week after Thanksgiving, or shorten it, flying out early on Thanksgiving Day and returning the Saturday after the holiday.
4. If you’re renting a car, check the rates at an off-airport or smaller car rental agency. Agencies that operate off of airport property aren’t subject to the same taxes and fees, while smaller agencies overall tend to be more flexible in their pricing and often offer significant discounts to compete with larger agencies. Sites like Hotwire.com and Carrentals.com work with these suppliers, as well as the large, national chains.
5. When booking hotels, your smartphone can be the best place to find a great deal. Many hotels offer increasingly bigger discounts to fill their empty rooms the closer you get to your stay. And with lots of empty rooms over Thanksgiving because travelers are staying with family, you can typically score the best savings by booking on the day of your arrival. Take advantage of these deep discounts by utilizing a fast and easy smartphone app.