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AAA: Though official start of summer is a few weeks away, plan now for your summer getaway

With the official start to summer less than six weeks away, AAA is recommending travelers start planning their holiday getaway now if they haven’t already made their plans. AAA Travel booking data shows reservations for flights, rental cars, cruises, and hotels for Memorial Day are up 122% over last year.

“We saw a notable increase in our travel bookings in early spring, which is a strong indication of what to expect for summer,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, spokesperson for AAA Blue Grass.

Photos from AAA

“Despite inflation and higher gas prices, people want to travel and we believe they will find ways to do so without breaking their budget.”

Plan now for Memorial Day travel

Travelers who want to get away for Memorial Day should start planning now. To maximize time, savings, and alleviate stress, AAA recommends working with a trusted travel agent. “These industry experts have many resources at their disposal to help plan and organize a trip that fits your specific needs and budget,” Weaver Hawkins explains. “They can easily look at a variety of options and scenarios to find deals and savings not always available to the public.”

AAA also offers travelers the following advice:

• Flexibility is key to save on travel. Fly on off-peak days and times, pick a hidden gem closer to home or opt to stay at an all-inclusive resort with plenty of on-site activities. This limits the need for a rental car and paying a la carte for entertainment and dining.

• Book early on flights, hotels, tours, cruises and car rentals. Don’t wait till the last minute if you want to lock in the best rate. Make sure to ask about discounts for pre-paying, something else a travel agent can help navigate.

• Travel with your bubble. Small group travel rose in popularity during the pandemic when many opted to vacation with those they were already in close contact with. Consider traveling in a small group to divvy up costs for things like activities and accommodations. If everyone is spread out, a travel agent can help manage the logistics.

• Protect your investment. The first step to planning your trip is to purchase travel insurance. This provides a safety net should something unexpected happen ahead of or during your trip and is another example of why a travel advisor is helpful. They know you, your trip, your budget and your specific needs and can easily help find a travel insurance policy that works best for you.

Airfares: Best (and worst) time to book for Memorial Day

When looking at the average costs of airfare for each day over Memorial Day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) for 2022 compared to 2021, flights are skewing about $160 more this year.

Recent AAA booking data shows the best time to purchase airfare is about two weeks before Memorial Day weekend and travelers can expect to pay an average of $445 per ticket. Those who prefer a longer planning window will pay slightly more since flights reserved 28 to 60 days ahead of the holiday are coming in at an average of $470 each. Sunday offers the lowest airfare, followed by Friday.

AAA advises that travelers looking for a last-minute deal by waiting to book the week of Memorial Day will end up paying almost double―about $845 per flight on average.

AAA also wants travelers to know that in the past, the cheapest day to fly for Memorial Day weekend was consistently Saturday. This year, however, it is the most expensive day to fly. As expected, Friday is the most popular air travel day and Memorial Day is the lightest.
Top destinations include big cities and Bbeaches

Travelers are targeting big cities and beaches for their Memorial Day getaways this year. These are the top 10 domestic destinations according to AAA bookings for flights, tours, car rentals and hotels:

1 Orlando, FL
2 Seattle, WA
3 Miami, FL
4 Las Vegas, NV
5 Anchorage, AK
6 Honolulu, HI
7 Boston, MA
8 Anaheim, CA
9 New York, NY
10 San Francisco, CA

Travelers heading abroad are choosing classic destinations like:

1 Vancouver, BC, Canada
2 Paris, France
3 Dublin, Ireland
4 London, England
5 Amsterdam, Netherlands
6 Rome, Italy
7 Cancun, Mexico
8 Barcelona, Spain
9 Budapest, Hungary

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