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Holiday Travelers are Booking Earlier This Year Due to Higher Prices

AAA urges travelers to book early for the best combination of price and availability

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (September 12, 2021) – Although the summer travel season just came to an end, Tennesseans are already beginning to lock in their plans for the holidays. When AAA fielded a travel survey this summer, one in five (20%) Tennessee travelers had plans to take a trip during the holidays. Of those, one-third (32%) said they would book earlier than in years past, due to higher travel prices.

According to the survey, a third (33%) of Thanksgiving travelers will finalize plans by the end of the month. Meanwhile, the share of those finalizing Christmas plans is evenly spread out between now and the end of November.

When Thanksgiving travel plans would be finalized:

  • 25% before September
  • 8% September
  • 40% October
  • 20% November
  • 7% unsure

When Christmas travel plans would be finalized:

  • 16% before September
  • 12% September
  • 25% October
  • 31% November
  • 12% December
  • 4% unsure

"Travelers expecting to fly this Thanksgiving should start locking in those plans now," said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Airline staffing shortages have resulted in fewer flights and higher prices. As we get closer to the holidays, airfares are likely to get even more expensive as flights fill up. Our best advice is simple: Book early. This will increase the odds of finding the flight you want at a competitive price."

AAA's Advice for Booking a Flight

  • Book early for the best combination of availability and price.
  • Book a direct flight that leaves early in the morning. Afternoon and evening flights are more susceptible to delays/cancellations due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Connecting flights multiply the risk of something going wrong.
  • Consider traveling a day or two earlier than planned. Even if you face delays, you are still likely to arrive on time.
  • If your flight has connections, build in a couple hours in between flights. This way, if your first flight is delayed, you are less likely to miss your second one.

"With all the unpredictability with air travel, we are seeing more and more passengers opt for travel insurance," Haas said. "Travel Insurance is such a valuable resource for air travelers, because it provides financial benefits for lost or delayed luggage, flight cancellations, even flight delays of as little as three hours."

According to AAA's survey, 32% of Tennesseans are more likely to purchase travel insurance now than before the pandemic began.

AAA will release its Thanksgiving Travel Forecast in early November.

About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from July 8 - 15, 2022. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.