winter travel during COVID

What to Know About Booking Winter Travel During COVID-19

Starting to think about Thanksgiving or Christmas trips? Between changing travel restrictions, health and safety considerations and shifting priorities, there’s a lot to navigate this holiday season. Just in time for the Holiday season, Expedia is here to help with some handy advice and tips for booking winter travel during COVID.

From setting up flight price alerts to opting for refundable rates, here’s how to protect your travel plans this year. FYI, make sure to keep up to date with the latest health and safety advice from the CDC when it comes to non-essential travel!

Here’s What to Know About Booking Winter Travel During COVID-19

Book Flights Well in Advance

Airfare prices will likely dip down in September before beginning to climb in early October through the end of the year. However, average ticket prices overall are still lower than last year, particularly over Thanksgiving. That means early birds will likely see some really great fares compared to last year.

Bottom line: Planning to travel for Thanksgiving? Expedia recommends booking flights between 60-90 days out in order to take advantage of the current lower year-on-year prices. For December or Christmas travel, the sweet spot is likely 30-60 days out.

Set up a price alert for your preferred route and be flexible on departure and return dates!

Try get Refundable Rates and Book Accommodation Early

This is especially important for any far-flung destination. Many of the destinations seeing early demand for the holidays are warm-weather leisure destinations in Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii. Domestic ski and snow destinations like Lake Tahoe, Vail and Jackson Hole and are also trending in popularity.

If there’s a lot of demand for popular places, rates could go up closer to the dates.

Bottom line: If you’re aiming to visit a popular beach, resort or tourist destination, Expedia recommends booking accommodations early and opting for refundable rates.

Car Rental Tips:

Whether you’re flying into a destination or renting close to home, it pays to shop around. Here’s some helpful tips for renting a car over the Holiday season…

  • Avoid starting your rental on the day before Thanksgiving when rates tend to be higher (30% higher than average in 2019) and lines longer. Prices tend to be lower for pick-ups starting on the Friday or Saturday before the holiday.
  • The best day to rent a car for the Christmas holiday is the Friday before the holiday, according to 2019 data. On average, rates were 15%cheaper on this day. Christmas Day renters paid the highest daily rates.
  • Some rental car agencies can only guarantee specific vehicle types on a first-come-first-served basis, so try to pick up early and be sure to notify them in the event of a flight delay.
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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