Ruth to the Rescue: Spring break airfare blues

By Tony Statz, Ruth to the Rescue producer, @RuthToTheRescue
Published On: Feb 17 2014 05:05:12 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 17 2014 07:47:04 PM EST

Spring break travel plans should be planned earlier next year to avoid pricey airfare.

It's no secret this Michigan winter has been brutally cold and seriously snowy, but if you're dreaming of a last-minute spring break vacation, you may have waited too long to book that trip!

On a frigid Main Street in Royal Oak, Ruth to the Rescue found several people thinking about an escape to somewhere warmer.

"I can't wait and this winter has been absolutely crazy," said Patricia Price of Farmington Hills, as she looked forward to a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

"I wanna be on the beach," said Vasiliki Giannopoulos of Royal Oak. "I've been working out like crazy, so I need to show off my new body."

Did You Wait Too Late?

However, if you haven't already book that spring break, you could be facing prices that go higher and higher. The travel website Hipmunk.com says, based on air fare patterns in the past, you could end up paying up to 12 percent more on airfare if you book after Presidents' Day. The prices could jump even higher by early March, up to 53 percent.

"We've averaged together thousand upon thousands of flights to get these results." said Adam Goldstein, CEO of Hipmunk.com.

It's really not that surprising that air fares would be going up in the final weeks before spring break kicks into high gear. It just makes sense. It's a peak travel time, and there are fewer seats available on domestic flights.

"There's been an overall reduction of probably 25 to 30 percent of the seats in domestic air travel," said David Fishman of Cadillac Travel Group in Southfield. Fishman says it's hard to tell if fares will jump by the same rates as years past, as prices can be so fluid. In addition, Metro-Detroit travelers are at a disadvantage, living near an airport that's so dominated by Delta Airlines.

The Secret To Better Flights, Book Early!

If you really want to get better prices and better travel time, Fishman tells us that savvy travelers know that booking those seats early is really the best approach. He says airlines start listing flights 330 days in advance. Fishman books a big spring break trip each year, and he books his seats 330 days in advance.

If you're not a travel consultant, that might be too early for you. However, Fishman says you should be thinking about spring break the previous September or October and think about your Christmas vacation between May and July! None of us expected such a brutal winter, but wouldn't you feel better if you already had some tropical vacation reserved this year?

Can I Get Any Spring Break Deals in 2014?

If you're looking for a last-minute deal for 2014, you will need to do a lot of price comparison, be flexible on flights, and the process will probably take a little longer. Don't wait any longer to get started!!

As always, flexibility is another key to saving money when you travel.

"We've seen great fares this year ... for cities that have a lot of more air competition, like Las Vegas and San Diego," said Adam Goldstein, CEO of Hipmunk.com. That website also lists New York City, Miami, and Puerto Rico as other possibilities.

"My mom and stepdad just booked a trip to go to Punta Cana and they're going in March. They say they got a really good deal," said Patricia Price of Farmington Hills, who also booked a trip of her own to that Caribbean destination.

Spring Break Strategies

1) If you're looking to travel this year, start your research now!
2) Look for destinations that are serviced my many different airlines. That will mean more seats, more competition, and possibly, lower prices.
3) Many travel experts say bundling your travel and air fare is a great way to cut down the total cost.
4) You know spring break is a peak travel time, plan your trips in September or October of the previous year to lock in better flights.
5) With fewer airline seats, air fares will always be tricky. Look for great hotel deals first. You can often make hotel reservations without cancellation penalties. If you can find a great air fare, make the trip. If not, cancel the hotel.

If you'd like more information from Cadillac Travel Group follow this link: http://cadillactravel.com/

If you'd like to search Hipmunk.com- follow this link: http://www.hipmunk.com/

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