Hayley Berg - Tue Oct 04 2022
After two years of missed holidays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are eager to travel this holiday season. According to a recent survey conducted by Hopper, nearly 60% of Americans plan to travel for one or both of the holidays this year. For over 50% of Americans, this holiday season will be the first time traveling since the start of the pandemic.
When it comes to travel plans, 70% of travelers say they are planning to visit friends and family over the holidays. While nearly 30% are planning to take a vacation.
Among the majority of Americans, 54% of the general population surveyed plan to drive their own car for the holidays, with 30% planning to fly and 11% renting a car. Only 4% of respondents said they plan to take a train or bus to get to their holiday destination. However, when we polled Hopper’s demographic of predominantly younger, Millennial and Gen Z travelers, 84% said they plan to fly for the holidays, and only 14% said they are driving their own car.
With the majority of holiday travelers planning to visit family and friends, 55% of respondents said they plan to stay with them during their trips. 36% of people plan to stay in a hotel over the holidays, and just 7% planning to stay in a vacation rental.
Economic concerns remain top of mind for consumers. According to Hopper’s Holiday Travel Outlook, airfare prices for Christmas are expected to be higher than in the past five years. Thanksgiving airfare prices are currently averaging $281 round-trip, up 25% from last year but in line with 2019 prices. Christmas airfare prices are currently averaging $435 round-trip, up 55% from last year and 19% higher from 2019 prices. When asked, 67% of respondents said price and finding a good deal was their top consideration when planning holiday travel; closely followed by 61% who said destination and going to the place of their choice was a top priority.
Among 46% of the general population surveyed said that higher prices are a concern as Americans plan their holiday travel this year. When we surveyed Hopper users, mostly millennials and Gen Z travelers, that number was even higher. 87% said higher airfare prices are a concern as they’re planning this year’s holiday travel.
After a summer of increased travel disruptions, delays and cancellation, travelers have reported concerns about the busy upcoming holiday season. In fact, 42% of travelers said they are worried about flight disruptions (delays & cancellations) impacting their holiday travel plans this year.
At the time of our survey in early September, only 29% of Americans had booked their holiday travel plans. 19% said they planned to book early in September and another 21% said they planned to book by the end of the month. However, many Americans are dragging their feet. 12% said they plan to book by Halloween and another 20% said they plan to book closer to the holidays themselves in November and December. When we asked Hopper users, predominantly a younger demographic of travelers, only 9% said they had their holiday travel plans booked. 37% said they would be booking holiday travel plans last month and 27% said they would book by Halloween in the next few weeks. Hopper experts recommend booking no later than the week of October 10th for the best prices. After that, good deals will be harder to find.
For those who haven’t book their holiday trips, Hopper has outlined their top money-saving tips for booking holiday travel:
Book both Thanksgiving & Christmas travel no later than the week of Oct 10 - Time is ticking! In order to get the best deal possible, Hopper recommends booking no later than the week of October 10th. After that, it will be hard to find a good holiday deal. Download the Hopper app and start monitoring prices now, we’ll alert you when a good deal becomes available so you can book instantly.
Be flexible on travel dates - If you can fly on Monday 11/21 ahead of Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day and return the week after Thanksgiving, you can save as much as $300 of peak holiday prices. Flying the Monday 12/19 or Tuesday 12/20 before Christmas and returning the week after, but before New Year’s Eve, could save you $120 per ticket.
Look for last-minute hotel deals in big cities - If you’re headed to a big city, you can save 25% off by booking at the last minute. Typically hotels lower prices in the month prior to the check-in date so plan to book Thanksgiving hotel stays by the first week of November and Christmas hotel stays by the first week of December. For vacation hotspots, you’ll want to book hotels at least ~3 weeks in advance.
Reserve your rental car at the same time as your flights - Typically, booking at the last minute will get travelers the best deal on car rentals. However, with lower supply of rental vehicles in the market and a busy holiday season ahead, waiting until the last minute could mean there are no vehicles left to book! Plan to book rental cars at the same time as holiday flights to ensure you have a car waiting for you at pick up.
Purchase trip protection - Following a summer of increased flight delays and cancellations, we recommend travelers add Hopper’s Flight Disruption Guarantee to their holiday travel plans. In the event of a flight delay or cancellation, Hopper will rebook you on the next flight out, regardless of carrier so you can get to your holiday destination on time.
You could save up to 40% on your next flight!