The Bing Travel Fareology Team (http://www.bing.com/travel) has issued its forecast for the 2011 summer travel season, showing that airfares and hotel costs are on the rise. Compared with last year, airfare is expected to be up 15 percent, with tickets averaging $561, up from $485 last summer. Summer hotel costs will rise by more than 7 percent, with average costs at $242 versus $227 last year. Airlines are making deep cuts in capacity and surcharges are blossoming. With oil prices on the rise, travelers can expect fares to continue to climb in order to offset fuel costs. Airlines are also charging more for their ancillary services, including: more legroom, extra bags, Wi-Fi, food, entertainment and more.
Flexibility will be critical for summer travelers looking to find a deal. For those who are willing to let deals lead them to new travel destinations, there are cheaper options to be had:
- Off-peak dates save you money: The cheapest week to travel this summer is May 30 to June 5, with domestic airfare averaging $518 for a round-trip ticket, and the most expensive week is June 27 to July 3, averaging about $595.
- Travel away from the crowds: Among the cheapest destinations is Orlando, Fla., with average airfare coming in at $300 and average hotel prices at $107. There are also deals to be had on flights to Boston, which average $307, and Denver, which average $316.
- Follow the heat to save: You might not make any money at the tables, but Las Vegas has some of the lowest rates on three-star accommodations, with an average hotel price of less than $100. There are even deals on flights to Vegas, including flights from Dallas, which have decreased by 39 percent, and flights from L.A., which can be found for $132.
Traveling internationally continues to be the most expensive summer travel choice, with overseas airfare costing about $1,250 per ticket compared with $1,100 for the same time last year. Hotel rates in London are up 23 percent, but if you can afford to make your way to Rome, the city is among our top destinations, with affordable three-star hotels at an average of about $209 per night.
We suggest booking summer flights as soon as you can. Travelers who are planning to wait out the rising fares in hopes of finding a deal will likely be disappointed. Your best bet is to plan ahead for the best fares – and if you can, be flexible and avoid peak travel dates.
Bing Travel Empowers with Travel Science and Tools
No matter where you want to go or when, Bing Travel has the tools and tips – like Travel Alerts – that travelers need to save time and money. Bing Travel helps online travel shoppers make smart travel decisions with Price Predictor, an airfare prediction for their specific trips. Price Predictor shows whether the lowest fares appear to be rising or dropping and provides recommendations to buy now or wait.
- The Bing Travel Hotel Rate Indicator helps consumers know at a glance if the offered rate for a hotel is a deal based on historical rates. Rate Indicator is available for more than 5,000 hotels in 30 major cities across the country, for reservations up to 90 days in the future.
- You can also use the Bing Travel Wish List app on Facebook to help fuel your travel dreams and start planning. The application allows you to track, share and compare travel ideas with friends through their personal Wish List and simultaneously get information and images through Bing Travel.
Here’s to a great summer.
- Krista Pappas, global travel industry director at Bing