AAA: Holiday Travelers are Booking Earlier This Year Due to Higher Prices

AAA urges travelers to book early for the best combination of price and availability
AAA urges travelers to book early for the best combination of price and availability
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:09 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 8:34 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (Press Release) - Although the summer travel season just came to an end, Nebraskans are already beginning to lock in their plans for the holidays. When AAA fielded a travel survey in the summer, a quarter (25%) of Nebraska travelers had plans to take a trip during the holidays. Of those, 2-in-5 (41%) said they would book earlier than in years past, due to higher travel prices.

According to the survey, almost half (47%) of Thanksgiving travelers will finalize plans by the end of the month. Meanwhile, over 2-in-5 (42%) of Christmas travelers will finalize plans by the end of October.

When Thanksgiving travel plans would be finalized:

  • 12% before September
  • 35% September
  • 27% October
  • 26% November
  • 0% unsure

When Christmas travel plans would be finalized:

  • 10% before September
  • 21% September
  • 11% October
  • 36% November
  • 19% December
  • 3% unsure

“Travelers expecting to fly this Thanksgiving should start locking in those plans now,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Airline staffing shortages have resulted in fewer flights and higher prices. As we get closer to the holidays, airfares are likely to get even more expensive as flights fill up. Our best advice is simple. Book early. This will increase the odds of finding the flight you want at a competitive price.”

Why 43% of Nebraska Travelers will Avoid Air Travel

Three-in-five (57%) of travelers plan to take at least one flight during the holiday season. Of those not planning a flight, 38% say it’s because their destination is close enough that a flight is not required. The second-largest share (30%) blame the cost of airfare being higher than last year. Meanwhile, 15% are concerned about delayed or canceled flights and 13% are still worried about contracting COVID-19 on a plane.

Click here to view the full survey

AAA’s Advice for Booking a Flight

  • Book early for the best combination of availability and price.
  • Book a direct flight that leaves early in the morning. Afternoon and evening flights are more susceptible to delays/cancellations due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Connecting flights multiply the risk of something going wrong.
  • Consider traveling a day or two earlier than planned. Even if you face delays, you are still likely to arrive on time.
  • If your flight has connections, build in a couple hours in between flights. This way, if your first flight is delayed, you are less likely to miss your second one.

“With all the unpredictability with air travel, we are seeing more and more passengers opt for travel insurance,” Haas said. “Travel Insurance is such a valuable resource for air travelers, because it provides financial benefits for lost or delayed luggage, flight cancellations, even flight delays of as little as three hours.”

According to AAA’s survey, 38% of Nebraskans are more likely to purchase travel insurance now than before the pandemic began.

AAA says they will release their Thanksgiving Travel Forecast in early November.