Thanksgiving travelers can expect higher airfare, hotel and rental car prices over last year, according to a Hotwire survey. But that won't keep Americans from spending an estimated $14 billion on Thanksgiving travel and $58 billion on Christmas travel.
Compared with last year, hotel prices are up 3%, airfares are up 8% in the top U.S. markets, and rental car prices are up 7%. Still, the Hotwire survey by Harris Interactive says many of us will embark on what's called "obligatory" travel, that is, trips made because of holidays, weddings, birthdays, etc.
"When it comes to air travel, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays to fly, so even though we’ve seen an increase in capacity over summer and fall, flights will likely be packed," a statement from the online travel company says. But some of the high cost depends on when and where you go. Hotwire makes these recommendations:
-- Book airfares as soon as possible and avoid traveling on the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving; those are the most expensive days to fly. The best chance of getting a price break would be flying early Thanksgiving Day and returning Saturday.
-- Travelers should expect deep hotel discounts around the holidays when business travel demand plummets. Hotwire says many hotels have a day-of booking that can save about 20% on a room, but they also may require a minimum two-night stay.
-- Destination matters too when it comes to prices. The best Thanksgiving hotel deals are popping up in San Diego, Boston and Chicago in the U.S., Hotwire says. On the international front, you should be able to find a room at top hotels in London and Prague, Czech Republic, for less than $100 a night.