BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Thanksgiving travel is reaching its conclusion just in time for families to pack their suitcases again.
Travel experts have some advice as you plan your next getaway.
“It’s not too late to book a flight if you haven’t already, but you certainly want to be thinking about that if you are going to be flying for the year on holiday here,” said American Automobile Association (AAA) Spokesman, Nick Chabbaria.
Setting up Christmas decorations and organizing travel plans are signs that the holiday season has begun.
“I think it’s probably going to be the best or strongest holiday travel demand since pre-pandemic,” said Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Public Relations Manager, Jim Caldwell.
He said his team is preparing for higher travel volumes this season.
“They’ll be prepared both in terms of the equipment and in terms of the staffing… We may be up somewhere between 15% and 20%, because we do have the additional seating capacity,” Caldwell said.
Chabbaria believes past holidays are a good indicator of what Christmas may look like.
“Prices are up across the board for travel, whether it be rental cars, hotels, airline tickets. We know that unfortunately, the average cost for airfare is the highest it has been in five years,” he said. “Travel, like many other industries, has been impacted by inflation and kind of coming out of the pandemic. So, it certainly is a little bit more expensive to travel now… But again, we’re not really seeing that deter folks from taking those trips or from traveling for the holidays.”
There could still be some good deals on the market.
“We’re actually entering that period now a week to two weeks out from the holiday where people can still find some deals on flights, where there’s still availability,” stated Chabbaria.
Caldwell said, “Relative to inflation, particularly specific things with airlines like jet fuel, labor and pilot shortages, it’s reflected in the prices. Although they’re not as high as many might anticipate, they’re still very reasonable.”
On the other hand gas prices just may put you in the Christmas spirit if you’re traveling on land.
“It will very likely go below $3 a gallon here, and that’ll be the first time that Louisiana drivers have seen the statewide average below $3 a gallon since October of 2021,” said Chabbaria.
You may need to check your list twice to make sure your travel plans go off without a hitch.
“So, making sure you’re taking care of those repairs, getting the oil changed, tires rotated ahead of your road trip to minimize the headaches,” he suggested.
AAA also advised that if you’re flying somewhere for the holidays, it may be best to catch the earliest flight out.
They say there’s less cancellations and delays earlier in the day.