Airfare prices made history last month when it was revealed that the jump in flight tickets between March and April reached a historic high. Travelers are clearly feeling the pinch of such increased costs, with news also revealing that the number of passengers booking flights dropped significantly last month – despite it being a time when travel restrictions have been at their lowest point for years and a flurry of travel around the globe was predicted by many in the industry.
One question travelers are asking is this – does travel really have to break the bank to be worthwhile? With costs spiraling and some destinations pricing themselves out of many travelers’ budgets, new ways are being found to keep costs down – without travelers having to make too many sacrifices. Here’s a look at the situation regarding historic travel costs, and how travelers can look to get around them this summer.
Costs Reach New High – What Travelers Should Know
Travelers hoping for a bargain of a getaway this summer have been dealt a blow after a historic increase in the price of air travel. The 18.6% rise in the cost of flight tickets between March and April is the highest such rise reported since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started compiling data. Domestic flight prices hit an average of $358 for a return flight, whilst the average international return flight soared to $865.
There are several causes behind the rocketing ticket prices. Lower overall capacities amongst airlines as a result of routes being cut have been met with increased demand for flights, whilst fuel prices and general inflation have also played a significant role in taking airfares skyward. Travelers are feeling it, too, with US airline bookings falling 17% in April compared to the previous month and dissatisfaction reaching high levels.
Fighting the Fares – How Travelers Can Keep Costs Down
Whilst there’s sadly no magic wand that can be waved to keep costs down, there are tactics that travelers can employ to save a few dollars. First and foremost is flexibility. With travelers wanting to maximize their holiday days or make the most of a long weekend, Fridays and Sundays are popular days to fly – but because they’re so in-demand, they’re also the most expensive. By being flexible with your outward and inward journeys and flying midweek – and even airports, if there’s another one nearby – you could potentially save hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, travel gurus Expedia found that actually booking flights on a Sunday offers the best value – and who doesn’t want to cap off a weekend by scoring some cheap flights? Regarding when to book, it’s often said that the best time is six weeks in advance for domestic and 16 weeks for international – and keep an eye on the flights. If the route comes up in a search for a cheaper price at a later date, you may be able to cancel and rebook with no fee, depending on the airline and ticket type. Keep your eyes peeled for new route announcements too, with airlines continuing to restore and add to their flight networks. In the travel game, vigilance pays off.
Flexibility extends far beyond the days of travel – it could be the mode of travel itself. For domestic routes, consider a rail journey; not only are these bound to be cheaper than a flight, but offer the chance to take in the countryside scenes, which can be an attraction in itself. Rail journeys are also convenient in terms of bringing luggage, with travelers spared the ludicrous ancillary charges that often make air travel so unaffordable. Of course, there’s also the option of driving there yourself – road trip, anyone?
Travelers heading further afield can also look to take advantage of strong dollar performances to ease the burden on the wallet caused by flight prices. The dollar is stronger this year against the Euro and the British pound than it was last year, meaning your money will go much further. Whilst there, consider swapping fancy hotels for AirBnB rentals, or better yet, look for a space – or a couch – to stay for free.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories