Economic Hardship Changing Holiday Travel, Finds Kayak Consumer Survey
Holiday travel traditions changing faster than the stock market as consumers delay and cancel bookings; Scrooge-like airline prices make travel more expensive
More than a quarter (27 percent) of respondents said that they won't be searching for deals at all this season because the economic hardship has forced them to cancel holiday travel plans. For the majority of consumers (73 percent) who are upholding their traditions this season and plan to travel despite the economy, most are watching their wallets and citing the need to accept travel inconveniences in order to penny pinch. The majority rate price as the most important factor in determining travel plans and are willing to sacrifice in order to score the least expensive fare available (71 percent). Travelers are either accepting several or longer layovers in their itineraries to save money (23 percent) or are planning to cut their trips short (20 percent). Only about 30 percent of respondents are planning holiday travel as originally scheduled without alterations.
Consumers who plan to travel this holiday season said they will take longer vacations to make the most out of the inevitable travel headaches and expenses. Twenty-nine percent of travelers are heading out of town for five to seven days and 30 percent said they're leaving for eight days or more.
While consumers may be holding out hope for a joyful and thrifty holiday season, actual expectations remain realistic. The majority of consumers (41 percent) expect to pay more for travel this year. But some consumers have a strategy to save a few dollars. More than 44 percent of survey respondents plan to sleep in their old childhood room during the holidays.
The travel experts at Kayak.com recommend that consumers consider the following suggestions when searching and booking travel this year:
- Book early to get the lowest price. Holiday airfare is more than 25-30 percent higher than last year. As planes fill up, remaining seats will quickly become more expensive.
- Avoid rush hour in the skies. Flying on off-peak days around the holidays can be more than $100 cheaper per ticket, which really adds up for a family of four. You can save a bundle by traveling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Avoid returning over the weekend and opt for flights on Monday or Tuesday. Use Kayak.com's Flexible Search tool which displays prices up to three days before/after desired dates to find the most affordable dates of travel.
- Study your history. It pays to know what others are paying. After doing a flight search, check the airfare history for a desired route by clicking on Chart View on the flight results page. Kayak.com's Best Fare Trend Graph charts pricing for city/date pairs found by Kayak.com users over the past 90 days.
- Forget customer loyalty. Frequent flier miles aren't as valuable as they used to be, so book with another carrier if it means a deal. Many low-cost carriers fly into less-expensive airports like Burbank or Long Beach instead of LAX. What they save in airport fees, they pass on to the consumer.
- Track fares. Kayak.com offers a free fare-alert tracker that sends e-mails daily or weekly when flights meet or beat the desired price specified.
- The total cost of a flight doesn't always end with the ticket purchase. To help travelers calculate how much their trip will really cost, Kayak.com provides an Airline Fee Chart on the results page that allows travelers to easily view and compare an airline's policy for luggage, in-flight food/beverage and other fees in one location.
- Avoid the pull-out couch. Kayak.com's hotel search feature makes it easy to find an affordable hotel that's as close to - or far away from - the in-laws' house. Simply input the holiday host's home address and instantly view several hotel options on a Google map for easy selection.
About Kayak.com | Kayak.com, the largest Travel 2.0 site in the world, is a global Internet media company operating Kayak.com, Sidestep.com, TravelPost.com and TravelSearch.com. Kayak.com and SideStep.com display results from more than 400 travel sites, providing prices and itineraries for hundreds of airlines, more than 100,000 hotels, all leading rental car companies and 18 cruise lines. Kayak.com has won more awards since launch than any other travel site including "100 Best Products of 2007" by PC World; "25 Sites We Can't Live Without" by TIME Magazine; "Best Search Engine" by the Associated Press; and "Best of the Web" by BusinessWeek, Forbes.com and US News & World Report. Launched in 2005 by co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia, Kayak.com's investors include General Catalyst Partners, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Lehman Brothers Venture Partners and America Online, Inc. . Kayak.com has sites in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, India, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. For more information, visit .