For consumers preparing to make summer vacation travel plans, some antacids may be in order.
Higher air fares and still sky-high fuel prices are driving up the cost of the summer trip.
“If they haven’t traveled lately I think people are going to be shocked by how much higher some fares are,” said Latitudes Travel Owner – Holly Robertson. “ Fares are high and seem to be going up everyday”
While fuel costs have driven up fares, other factors include airlines intentionally cutting back on capacity and flying fewer planes (which makes fewer seats available). Obviously in Milwaukee Frontier airlines has made serious cutbacks and options for travelers has been changed considerably. Another factor is airline mergers, which have led to less competition on some routes.
Overall across the country, air fares have gone up on average 6 percent to 10 percent, But to some destinations, from Chicago for instance, they’ve spiked much more. In 2011 sample nonstop airfares for travel from Chicago in July to San Francisco, was $318 round trip, but this year, which has shot up to $510. Another example is a nonstop flight from Chicago to Denver that has gone from $248 to $344.
Comparing to summer 2011, the average fare to Las Vegas is up nearly 20 percent, to San Diego it’s up 19 percent, to Cancun it’s up 26 percent, to San Juan, it’s up 29 percent and to Rome, it’s up 19 percent, according to an on-line travel site.
Part of the problem that is pushing international travel much higher than it has been in previous summers is taxes. Airports & governments are adding on taxes. Another factor pushing up international travel is the Summer Olympics and the high demand for travel to and from London. This combined with the other issues makes for a Double no Triple Whammy!
What agents are seeing is that people are either waiting or not going at all. Unfortunately, those who that are waiting look like that will waiting for some time as it appears that the prices will not going to be coming down anytime soon.
Hotel fares are also up about a 5 percent increase for the hotels over 2011.
For those planning to drive, gasoline prices remain near historic highs, even they have come down in recent weeks and are more than 20 cents a gallon below year-ago levels. On Sunday the average in the Chicago area for unleaded regular was $4.22 a gallon. Nationally, the average was about $3.85.
Budget-conscious consumers are taking steps to try to make their summer vacation travel more affordable. Bookings for rooms with kitchenettes are on the rise so travelers can eat in at least one meal of the day. There is also an increase in the interest and booking of condos and townhomes for the same reason, most of the time those will include a full kitchen, and people can eat in and save some dollars.
Another great way to save is to use a travel agent to help you with your planning and maximize your travel dollar by traveling wisely. There are deals to be had and travel agents are your best source for great information and booking assistance that can make your vacation dollar go further and ease the stress of taking a much needed vacation.