Today the Fareologists at Bing Travel (http://www.bing.com/travel) issued their 2010 Spring Break Forecast, which reveals a 9 percent increase in spring break airfare over 2009, coupled with a 15 percent decrease in domestic hotel rates. This year, airfare for both international and domestic spring break travel, generally defined as travel between Feb. 28 and March 31, averages $349, up 9 percent from 2009. In addition, the average ticket for the most popular spring break travel itinerary with a Saturday departure and Sunday return is $418, up $57 or 16 percent from last year. Although domestic airfare is higher this year, domestic hotel rates continue to drop for popular spring travel destinations such as Las Vegas; Maui, Hawaii; and Orlando, Fla., and reveal an average decline of 15 percent over 2009. To make the most of their travel budgets, consumers should choose destinations, travel dates and hotels that have decreased rates and could bring down the cost of the total trip.
"Despite the recession, airlines are continuing to cut capacity, and spring airfares are creeping back up to 2008 levels," said Bing Travel Fareologist Joel Grus. "Thankfully, we are seeing a deep decrease in hotel prices across the board, which could reduce overall trip costs and offset higher airfares."
Grus offers a few simple tips to save on airfare for spring travel:
Avoid late March travel. Traveling during the first week of March as opposed to the week of March 22 will save travelers an average of $65 on airfare. The week of March 22 is particularly expensive this year, with an average airfare of $379 per ticket.
Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays to save. This year, a seven-night Tuesday to Tuesday or Wednesday to Wednesday trip saves on average 22 percent and about $86 less than traveling on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Use airfare predictions. Airfares fluctuate on a daily basis. The Bing Travel Price Predictor is a helpful tool that predicts whether to buy airfare now or wait. Savvy travelers should sign up for alerts and monitor predictions for their trips before booking to help save on airfare costs.
Hotel Rates Bring Down Total Trip Cost
Lower domestic premium hotel rates will be a draw for budget-conscious travelers. On average, premium hotel rates in popular domestic spring travel destinations are down 15 percent over 2009, averaging $173 per night. In popular destinations such as Las Vegas, rates are down as much as 27 percent, an average of $103 per night, and rates in San Diego are down as much as 24 percent.
"We've seen some impressive hotel deals over the past year," Grus said. "A decrease in demand and occupancy has led hotels to slash rates to fill empty rooms, and we expect that this will remain the trend for 2010 spring travel and potentially beyond."
Hot Spots Offer Deep Discounts in 2010
Choosing the right destination this spring could allow travelers to get more for their money. On the West Coast, travelers can choose Las Vegas or Maui, where impressive discounts can be found. Closer to the East Coast they may head to Orlando or Puerto Vallarta, where hotel rates have significantly decreased. Jon Douglas, managing editor of Bing Travel, shares the following travel tips for these popular destinations:
Why? Las Vegas offers a fun, cost-effective destination for spring break travel.
Getting there. The average price for a weeklong trip, including airfare and hotel for two people to Las Vegas, is down 14 percent this year. The Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, for example, averages $169 this year, compared with $207 a year ago.
Highlights. In addition to a temperate climate, new attractions and shows are in abundance. Visitors can try out "Viva ELVIS," the new Cirque du Soleil show at Aria Resort & Casino; stroll around the mammoth new CityCenter complex; or soar above the Strip in Cloud 9, a helium balloon.
Why? Bing Travel recently rated Maui as one of the top tropical vacation sites with no U.S. passport required for travel.
Getting there. Airfare is about the same as last year, while the average cost of a weeklong stay at premium hotels is down 21 percent compared with last year. The Westin Maui Resort & Spa averages $279, compared with $375 last year
Highlights. Travelers can explore Haleakala National Park and relax on Hookipa Beach, sometimes called "The Windsurfing Capital of the World," on Maui's north shore.
Why? Aside from the great weather, beaches and tourist attractions, Orlando offers a great kid-friendly spring break vacation.
Getting there. Although airfare to Orlando is up 12 percent this year, travelers will be able to save on a weeklong stay at premium hotels at an average of $168, down 14 percent compared with 2009.
Highlights. Aside from the obvious Disney activities, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and other similar organizations offer short, flexible volunteer opportunities.
Why? In October the U.S. dollar hit its most favorable point versus the peso in 16 years. The value of the dollar is expected to remain strong in 2010, which makes Puerto Vallarta an ideal spring break travel destination.
Getting there. This is one of the few spring break destinations where airfare has not increased much. The average spring break airfare is $435, up 2 percent.
Highlights. When visitors have had their fill of beach time, they can stroll along the seaside boardwalk and check out the whimsical sculptures. Adventure travelers will also find plenty to do here, including zip line tours, sailing, kite surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and parasailing.
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