Travelers are planning and buying earlier this year for December holiday travel, according to a survey conducted by discount travel site Hotwire.com
and Harris Interactive
. In an online survey of more than 2100 Americans, 58 percent of those planning to travel for the December holidays say they will have all holiday airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars purchased by the end of October. This compares with only 39 percent in 2002.
Additionally, the survey showed:
28 percent purchased all holiday travel by the end of September (21 percent in 2002)
October is the most popular month to buy December holiday travel this year, with 30 percent of travelers planning to buy this month (18 percent in 2002).
One quarter (25 percent) plan to purchase December holiday travel in November, before Thanksgiving (38 percent in 2002).
Only 17 percent say they will wait to purchase December holiday travel until after Thanksgiving, down from 23 percent in 2002.
“With reduced airline capacity, planes are flying more full and travelers are noticing,” said Cheryl Law, Hotwire’s senior director of consumer research. “We think this is one reason why people are booking holiday travel earlier this year - to guarantee seats on peak travel days. Given this, consumers who haven’t booked are likely to find the best fares and most availability on off-peak dates, such as Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.”
To help those traveling this holiday, Hotwire has launched its “Plan Smart” holiday booking guide, a resource to help consumers find travel days with the most availability and lowest fares throughout the holiday season. The “Plan Smart” holiday booking guide can be found at www.hotwire.com/plan-smart.jsp