Gas Prices Cut Into Vacation Travel
It’s still April, and the kids are still in school, but the travel agents I talked to today gave me their top 3 pieces of advice as we look ahead to summer: book now, book now, book now. Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard that warning from travel agents before, but I tend to believe them this time.
“Highest I’ve ever seen”
With prices at the pump climbing… they just went up another dime overnight in Tulsa… and airfares soaring, summer travel could be the most expensive ever. Gary Michels, with Spears Travel, says, “The cost of flying is the highest I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in the business, and it’s directly related to the cost of fuel.” World Travel’s Alex Eaton told me since January the airlines have tried to raise fares 10 times and have been successful six of those times. He says two years ago it would have been one out of ten. With the peak travel season ahead of us, and demand up, prices won’t be coming down.
It wasn’t that long ago I could fly my family of five to either coast for $1000… round-trip! Eaton laughed when I mentioned that. “Just to get on an airplane to either coast, it’s $3000 for a family of five now,” he says. He told me we may never see that $200 round-trip airfare again.
While fuel prices may make vacation deals hard to come by this summer, both believe cruises are one of the best values for your money. Eaton says, unlike the airlines, the cruise lines have plenty of capacity. Many of the newer ships were built right before the recession hit, so there’s an abundance of cabins. Supply is up, which keep prices down. You can often find package deals bundling airfares, transfers and the cruise.
Mexico resorts popular
They both say Mexico will also be popular, despite reports of increased crime in that country. Michels says resorts like Cancun and Cozumel are enticing tourists with lower prices to overcome the negative publicity. And Eaton says with all-inclusive’s you know what you’re going to spend, with no hidden costs.
Which way will airfares go?
While the two travel agents agree on most things, they differ on which direction airfares will head after summer. Michels believes they’ll go down with the decrease in demand, but Eaton says the airlines will take many of their planes out of service. Fewer seats, more demand, higher prices.
Both say with airfares and gas prices so high, more people will vacation closer to home this summer. I just hope and pray we don’t start using again the word that become popular a few years ago: staycation. That’s no fun at all!