With Memorial Day behind us, many Iowans are now thinking ahead to summer vacation with plans to visit the beach, the mountains or other far-away destinations. Travel advisor Chris McGinnis says gas, lodging and food costs have risen 4-to-6 percent from last summer, while airfares and fees are bounding, too.
“Just in the last two weeks, the major carriers have increased the fee that they’re charging for changes to non-refundable tickets to $200, that’s up from $150 prior to that,” McGinnis says. “So, if you’re a family of four and you decide to make a change to your airline ticket, that could cost you up to $800.”
McGinnis says airfares have risen four-to-five percent in the past year but he says it’s the add-ons that really add up. “Airlines are now getting about 30% of their revenue from fees,” McGinnis says. “They range from the $200 fee to make a change to a non-refundable ticket to the $25 and $35 bag fees, fees for talking to a human agent on the phone, fees for a little bit of extra leg room.”
The days of the week you fly may make a big difference in the price you pay for a ticket. “If you can travel midweek, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, those tend to be the least crowded and least expensive days,” he says. “The airlines are saying Thursdays and Fridays this year are going to be the most crowded and the most expensive so you may want to avoid those days.”
McGinnis says expect to pay premium travel prices from late June through early August — so the entire month of July will be very expensive.