Following travel trends is something I’m always interested in. I like to know where people have decided to travel, what activities they are planning during their summer family vacations, and the latest trends in travel deals. Another reason why I’m interested in travel trends is for my own personal reasons – to find out how to avoid the crowds this summer.
Last week, the fareologists at Bing Travel issued their forecast for the 2011 summer travel season, and it doesn’t look to promising for the pocketbook. They predict airfare and hotel costs will continue to rise, with the average airfare going up 15 percent in price and hotels rising by more than seven percent.
“Airlines are making deeper cuts in capacity, and surcharges are burgeoning,” said Krista Pappas, Global Travel Industry Director at Bing. “With oil prices on the rise, travelers can expect fares to continue to climb to offset fuel costs. Airlines also will continue to charge fees for their services, such as more leg room, premium boarding, baggage fees, Wi-Fi, food and entertainment.”
Flexibility is the key for summer travelers looking to find a deal. For those who are willing to let deals lead them to new travel destinations, there are still some cheaper options for exploring new places:
- Off-peak dates save travelers money. The cheapest week to travel this summer is May 30 to June 5, with domestic airfare averaging $518 for a round-trip ticket, and the most expensive week is June 27 to July 3, averaging about $595.
- Travel away from the crowds. Among the cheapest destinations is Orlando, Fla., with average airfare coming in at $300 and average hotel prices at $107. There are also deals to be had on flights to Boston, which average $307, and Denver, which average $316.
- Follow the heat to save. Travelers might not make any money at the casinos, but Las Vegas has some of the lowest rates on three-star accommodations, with an average hotel price of less than $100. There are even deals on flights to Vegas, including flights from Dallas, which have decreased by 39 percent, and flights from Los Angeles, which can be found for $132.
Traveling internationally continues to be the most expensive summer travel choice, with overseas airfare costing about $1,250 per ticket, compared with $1,100 last year. Hotel rates in London are up 23 percent, but travelers who can afford to make their way to Rome, a city among travel experts’ top recommended destinations, will find affordable three-star hotel options at an average of $209 per night.
“I would suggest booking summer flights as soon as you can,” Pappas said. “Travelers who are planning to wait out the rising fares in hopes of finding a deal will likely be disappointed. Your best bet is to plan ahead for the best fares — and, if you can, apply flexibility and avoid peak travel dates.”
If you are planning your family vacation or other summer travel, be sure to check out Bing Travel which offers tools and tips, as well as Bing travel alerts to help you save time and money. Bing Travel helps online travel shoppers make smart travel decisions with Price Predictor, an airfare prediction tool that shows whether the lowest fares appear to be rising or dropping and provides recommendations on whether to buy immediately or wait.The Bing Travel Hotel Rate Indicator helps consumers know at a glance if the offered rate for a hotel is a good deal, based on historical rates. Rate Indicator is available for more than 5,000 hotels in 30 major cities across the country, for reservations up to 90 days in the future.
Travelers can also use the Bing Travel Wish List Facebook app to help fuel their travel dreams and start the planning process. The app allows people to track, share and compare travel ideas with friends through their personal Wish List on Facebook and simultaneously get information and images through Bing Travel.
What are some of your 2011 summer travel plans and how do you save time and money when planning your summer family vacation?