year-end holiday travel

AAA: Expect a More Expensive Year-End Holiday Travel Experience

Year-end holiday travel is expected to get more expensive this year. AAA suggests that you should book your flights and other travel necessities as early as possible.

Pricey Year-End Holiday Travel for Travelers

AAA’s recent analysis revealed that airfare for Christmas week is already up by 5% compared to last year. The average for the lowest round trip fare for popular US destinations is $154.

Expect hotel rooms to get more expensive as well. The average price of a mid-range hotel room jumped by 36% for Christmas travel this year. Travelers will spend an average of $320 per night for a hotel.

For car rentals, the average rate increased by 20% for Christmas. The lowest daily rate is somewhere at $130.  Aside from the costly car rental rate for year-end holiday travel, travelers should also anticipate a possible shortage in car rentals. Even if rental companies improved their inventory following summer’s shortages, the increased demand can make it difficult for you to book last minute.

110 Million Travelers for the Year-End Holidays

AAA anticipates 110 million people to travel for the year-end holidays representing a 34% jump from last year. For this year, AAA expects to have 27 million more travelers than last year. But even if it is below 2019’s numbers, it is still around 92% of pre-pandemic levels.

For airlines, the industry expects 184% more travelers for this year compared to last year. Unfortunately, even if that’s good news for carriers, airlines have to deal with staffing shortages. To address this problem, multiple airlines offered incentives for their workers.

Southwest Airlines is offering up to 120,000 Rapid Rewards points for operational employees who will work during the holidays. This is valued at more than $1,400. And recently, Southwest asked their corporate employees to fill customer service roles in busy airports over the holidays. American, on the other hand, is willing to offer 150% pay for employees just for them to work on the holidays.

According to the AAA, expect the busiest days between December 23 and January 2.


Picture of John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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