ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Florida is one of the world's top tourist destinations and holiday bookings for this upcoming season are expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, according to travel experts.
Sharon Harley of Jeeves Florida Rentals said she is seeing bookings around 20% than in 2019, adding that their phones have been ringing off the hook.
"If you saw the number of calls that we deal with on a daily basis, they're probably only missing, maybe 3% of them, but it's a high call volume."
Angela Hughes with Trips & Ships Luxury Travel says if you're going to book a holiday trip, you need to pack your patience.
"We're having a huge supply and demand issue because we have moved over so much credit from 2020 and 2021 canceled bookings that people want to use that. Now they're starting to expire, and they want to make sure that they're not losing money from those previous, pre-COVID bookings," she said.
And if you're planning to fly, you should book the flight sooner than later. Don't count on any last-minute deals.
When it comes to getting a deal on holiday airfare, there's no time like the present.
According to the flight-tracking experts at Hopper, the lowest prices are very likely available right now. "For those ready to book, take advantage of the cheapest fares available now, particularly for the Christmas holiday," Hopper wrote in its annual Holiday Travel Guidance Report.
For Thanksgiving, travelers should expect domestic airfare of around $300/round-trip, which is up 23% from 2020 ($245) but down 11% from 2019 ($335).
Hopper said fares for Thanksgiving will spike after Halloween and cost about $400 round trip leading up to Thanksgiving. Those who wait until the last minute - the week of Thanksgiving - to book will pay an additional $100 per ticket on average.
International travelers who book early can expect to pay about $620 round-trip. Waiting until the last minute will cost travelers about $200 more per ticket.
Prices are higher for Christmas travel than Thanksgiving. Domestic travelers can expect to pay an average of $430 round-tip. International travelers can expect to pay $969 on average.
Hopper recommends booking Christmas travel no later than Thanksgiving. Over the course of December, prices are expected to rise by $230.
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