SEATTLE, Sept. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, millions of Americans take to the roads and skies during November and December, whether they're visiting friends and family, or in search of sand and sun. In a typical year, the time to start solidifying those holiday plans would be nearly upon us. However, 2020 is not a typical year. Between changing travel restrictions, health and safety considerations and shifting priorities, potential travelers have a lot to navigate this holiday season.
For those considering a trip, Expedia® analyzed flight, lodging and car rental trends for the holidays to help answer some of the top questions facing travelers:
Nisreene Atassi, Sr. Director at Expedia: "So many people rely on travel during the holidays and winter months – for relaxation, recreation, or as a time to reconnect with loved ones. Like so many other things this year, the holidays may not look the same. But for those who want or need to get away, we don't want the uncertainty and planning process to be a source of stress. We've made several key updates to our site to ensure we are delivering flexible travel solutions and highlighting health and safety information. We want to give travelers the tools they need to be able to make plans they feel confident and excited about this holiday season."
When to book flights and accommodations
Air travel: Early bird catches the fare
In past years, it wasn't unusual for those who booked holiday airfare more than 90 days out to pay more, not less than average. However, average ticket price trends this year indicate that getting an earlier start could potentially pay off.
Looking at average ticket prices for the fall and holiday timeframe, airfare prices dip down in September before beginning to climb in early October through the end of the year. However, average ticket prices overall are still lower than last year, particularly over Thanksgiving. That means early birds will likely see some really great fares compared to last year.
Because airfare prices can fluctuate, the best way to ensure you don't miss a deal is to set up a price alert for your preferred route and be flexible on departure and return dates.
Accommodations: Flexibility is fool proof
When it comes to booking a hotel or vacation home, it pays to consider the popularity of your destination. Expedia data reveals many of the destinations seeing early demand for the holidays are warm-weather leisure destinations in Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii. Domestic ski and snow destinations like Lake Tahoe, Vail and Jackson Hole and are also trending in popularity. This indicates that opportunistic travelers are already beginning to take advantage of deals and jumping on the chance to take a long overdue vacation.
For extra peace of mind, travelers can review health and safety policies for more than 400,000 hotels and vacation rentals right on Expedia.com and use the recently added "Enhanced Cleaning" filter to narrow search results.
Car rental tips
Like hotels and airlines, many rental car companies have rolled out enhanced cleaning measures and flexible payment options in recent months that are easy to find and compare on Expedia.com. Travelers can choose rates that allow payment at the counter and free cancellation.
Here are a few other tips to avoid the crowds and save money on your holiday ride:
Tips for booking flexible travel
Unsurprisingly, flexibility continues to be one of the biggest factors for travelers, and luckily Expedia and the travel industry is making it easier to find and book these options.
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