ROANOKE, Va. – If you’re taking off the tarmac or hitting the highway, experts say you need to book your holiday trip before Halloween.
“We’re seeing a high demand for traffic, lots of searches, lots of flights booking. And since there’s not as much capacity and demand is going up, it’s a bit like musical chairs,” said Brad Boettcher, the director of marketing and air service development at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
With more shots in arms, travel is up.
“There’s still just a lot of pent-up demand of people that haven’t traveled anywhere. As the vaccination rates are up, people are feeling more comfortable,” said Boettcher.
But high demand and limited availability mean prices will soar. Travel website Hopper said prices could jump up to 40% higher if you book after Halloween―add an extra 25% if you book last minute.
Thanksgiving week bookings are 35% higher than the same time pre-pandemic after many people skipped celebrating the holidays with family last year due to COVID-19.
“Just family coming in for the holidays. Everybody’s vaccinated,” said Yasmeen Adams, whose family lives in Philadelphia. “They’ll probably just drive up.”
Alex Schmid, a German exchange student at Virginia Tech, said his flight plans are set.
“I’m probably going to LA, so California. I already booked flights because they increase every day, the prices,” said Schmid.
Martha Meade with AAA Mid-Atlantic said people need to book rental cars as soon as possible.
“Rental car prices have been enormously high. Sometimes two, three, four, five, six times as high as they were before,” said Meade. “Booking in advance on a car rental is huge and that’s not getting any better anytime soon.”
“If I was going to travel during the holidays, I would go ahead and start booking now,” said Marcie White, who traveled to Roanoke from Mississippi.