The Fareologists at Bing Travel (http://www.bing.com/travel) today issued their forecast for the 2011 summer travel season, predicting airfare and hotel costs will continue to swell. Compared with last year, airfare is expected to be up 15 percent, with tickets averaging $561, up from $485 last summer. Summer hotel costs will rise by more than 7 percent, with average costs at $242, versus $227 last year.
“Airlines are making deeper cuts in capacity, and surcharges are burgeoning,” said Krista Pappas, global travel industry director at Bing. “With oil prices on the rise, travelers can expect fares to continue to climb to offset fuel costs. Airlines also will continue to charge fees for their services, such as more leg room, premium boarding, baggage fees, Wi-Fi, food and entertainment.”
Flexibility is the key for summer travelers looking to find a deal. For those who are willing to let deals lead them to new travel destinations, there are still some cheaper options for exploring new places:
- Off-peak dates save travelers money. The cheapest week to travel this summer is May 30 to June 5, with domestic airfare averaging $518 for a round-trip ticket, and the most expensive week is June 27 to July 3, averaging about $595.
- Travel away from the crowds. Among the cheapest destinations is Orlando, Fla., with average airfare coming in at $300 and average hotel prices at $107. There are also deals to be had on flights to Boston, which average $307, and Denver, which average $316.
- Follow the heat to save. Travelers might not make any money at the casinos, but Las Vegas has some of the lowest rates on three-star accommodations, with an average hotel price of less than $100. There are even deals on flights to Las Vegas, including flights from Dallas, which have decreased by 39 percent, and flights from Los Angeles, which can be found for $132.
Traveling internationally continues to be the most expensive summer travel choice, with overseas airfare costing about $1,250 per ticket, compared with $1,100 last year. Hotel rates in London are up 23 percent, but travelers who can afford to make their way to Rome, a city among travel experts’ top recommended destinations, will find affordable three-star hotel options at an average of $209 per night.
“I would suggest booking summer flights as soon as you can,” Pappas said. “Travelers who are planning to wait out the rising fares in hopes of finding a deal will likely be disappointed. Your best bet is to plan ahead for the best fares — and, if you can, apply flexibility and avoid peak travel dates.”
Bing, the decision engine from Microsoft Corp., represents a new generation of search. Bing was developed to deliver results in a visually stunning way that makes it easy for users to find the information they need. People today expect more than 10 blue links on a page, and Bing is Microsoft’s first step in a broader effort to evolve search into a more refined tool that helps people cut through Internet clutter. Designed with today’s searchers in mind, Bing provides intelligent tools to simplify tasks and help people make fast decisions.
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