With July 4 weekend just around the corner, Peter sits down with Travelocity Editorial Director Genevieve Shaw Brown to see if there are any last-minute specials to be had.
Read on as Peter and Genevieve swap tips on when—and how—travelers can find good value in their hotels and airfare this holiday weekend and beyond.
Peter Greenberg: It’s mid-June, so we’ve got to be thinking about that July 4 weekend, don’t we?
Genevieve Shaw Brown: Absolutely. I suspect that people may be waiting for last-minute deals for July 4 weekend. Travelocity has this new feature called the Travel Pricing Barometer. I analyzed four years of historical data and found that it’s pretty unlikely you’re going get a deal at the last minute. In fact you’re probably going to pay about 10 percent more if you wait beyond June 2 to get your ticket.
PG: I was looking at airfares because I had to get somebody down to Miami from New York in the next two weeks. The disparity in fares is so bizarre. On American Airlines, they were actually selling one-way fares, which they never usually do, from LaGuardia to Miami for $92.
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CSB: That’s a great price.
PG: Guess what, first-class fare was $1,300.
CSB: That’s a quick flight where there’s no reason to pay $1,300 to fly in first class. At least not in my opinion. I just returned from Fort Lauderdale yesterday. I was there for a few days and got a good deal for around $300 on JetBlue, which is a great airline.
PG: If you really do your homework, you can fly from MacArthur on Long Island on Southwest to Fort Lauderdale. And you might be surprised that it’s an even lower fare.
CSB: New York City to South Florida is this summer’s number-one, top-selling city pair. It’s great news for people flying that route, because there are so many choices in both of those markets. There’s Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. New York also has three airports. Alternate airport searches are a fantastic feature that many Web sites have. They make it very easy to shop around and see where you’re going to get the best price.
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PG: You’ve named what you think are the top 10 summer family destinations and I’ve been pricing a few of them not just in terms of airfare, but hotels. I found hotels in Honolulu for under $100 a night.
CSB: That’s fantastic. Hawaii is on everyone’s dream destination list and it can be really expensive to get there. People turn off when they look at the airfare pricing. I call that “flight fixation.” But people need to think about the total cost of a trip and off-setting high airfare costs with affordable hotels.
One of the things that’s standing out to me this summer—more than any other summer—is the abundance of hotel deals. Hotel rates this summer, domestic and international, are up about 6 percent from where they were last summer. The hotel industry has gained back some pricing power, which they are not going to want to give that up. Instead of slashing rates, hotels are offering a lot more free nights, free room upgrade, kids stay free, and resort credit specials. It allows hotels to protect their price and brand integrity.
By Peter Greenberg for PeterGreenberg.com.
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