With more than a month of winter left, many Iowans are having warm thoughts about far-away beaches and their Spring Break destinations. Iowa travel advisor Chris McGinnis says wherever you hope to go, plan to pay more for it this year.
“We’re going to see higher prices, unfortunately,” McGinnis says. “Even if you’re planning on driving to your vacation, we’re looking at a spike in fuel costs. The average price for a gallon of gas has gone from about $3.30 a gallon all the way up to $3.55 a gallon, up a quarter in just the last two weeks, and that’s expected to continue through the Spring Break period.”
McGinnis says airfares are up five to ten-percent on average from a year ago and that doesn’t include fees like baggage checks. Hotel rates are up about five-percent from last year. If you can travel a little later in the season, he says that will save some dough.
“If you really want a good deal, plan your vacation outside the peak period,” McGinnis says. “It you could travel in April and May, that’s known in the travel industry as the ‘shoulder’ season and we see a decline in demand and a subsequent decline in prices.”
Consumer confidence is up and more people are expected to travel this year, which he says will drive prices higher. Some Iowans may also be thinking ahead to their summer vacations, though he says you have several weeks before you really need to start nailing down those plans.
“If you have a little wiggle room, wait until right after Easter,” McGinnis says. “This is when the airlines typically start to dangle a few summer airfare sales. Those sales are typically good until mid-to-late June. After that, we get into the peak summer travel season, July and August, when fares really start to skyrocket.”
He says some of the best deals can be found in Mexico, while if you’re heading for the Gulf Coast, you’ll likely have to pay top dollar.