By Sam Kemmis

Over the river and through the woods, to … a hotel near-ish Grandmother’s house we go?

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how and whether to book flights for the holidays. Since then, a few people have asked what I think holiday travel will be like this year. Will airports be packed? Or will caution prevail? Will airfare and hotel prices go up? Or will they remain at their current bargain-basement prices?

Only a fool would try to make predictions about the future at this point, so let’s call these “guesstimaybes.” I’ll use data and projections where possible, but even those can only perform so much better than a crystal ball these days.

Guesstimaybe No. 1: Airfare Prices Will Go Up, but Not Much

Based on research from the airfare search service Hopper, Yuletide airfare domestically is down 40% compared with 2019. And frankly, that doesn’t sound dramatic enough based on what I’m seeing. I remember talking to a friend last year about booking round-trip flights from Seattle to St. Louis in December for about $700. This year you can nab the same flight for $212 during the heart of the holiday season.

Yet the same report from Hopper found that 39% of survey respondents plan to travel for the holidays this year, three-quarters of whom plan to board a plane in December. And only 17% of these would-be holiday travelers have booked their flights yet.

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