Travel trends: More Floridians booking holiday flights early, AAA says

More than half of people surveyed booking early due to higher prices

Passengers wait hours to get bags at Terminal C at Orlando International Airport

TAMPA, Fla. – As summer winds down to make way for fall, there are many Floridians who aren’t wasting any time in preparation for their next vacation, according to AAA.

AAA heard from 400 Floridians in its latest Consumer Pulse survey — conducted online from Aug. 1-7 — learning 68% of respondents sought to take at least one flight for the holiday season, 61% were already planning a holiday vacation and 57% were booking earlier due to higher travel prices.

“Whether you plan to book a flight, cruise or visit a theme park, it’s best to get ahead of the holiday rush and finalize your plans now,” Debbie Haas, VP of Travel for AAA, said in a statement. “This will help ensure you get the itinerary you want at a competitive price. While it’s possible that those who wait until the last minute could catch a lower rate, their preferred options may already be gone.”

Beyond getting a spot early and prioritizing direct flights, AAA’s advice for booking included such tips as traveling a day earlier than planned or building in a couple hours between flights if connections are your only option, both of which could reduce or eliminate the possibility of being late to your final destination.

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To that point, 33% of respondents said that they might not fly at all this holiday season over concerns of delays and cancellations. For this, Haas recommended looking into travel insurance.

“Given recent challenges with air travel, we are seeing more and more passengers opt for travel insurance,” Haas said in a news release. “Travel Insurance is such a valuable resource for air travelers, because it provides financial benefits for lost or delayed luggage, flight cancellations, and flight delays of as little as three hours.”

Thanksgiving travel tips —

  • 55% of respondents were planning a trip with at least one overnight stay for Thanksgiving.
  • 40% will lock in their travel plans during September.

Booking during Thanksgiving week:

The busiest days are expected to be Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. AAA recommends booking a flight the Sunday or Monday before Thanksgiving and on Saturday after the holiday.

Christmas travel tips —

  • 12% of respondents said they had already finalized their Christmas travel plans.
  • 21% will wait until some time in September, 28% until October and 26% until November to book their tickets.

Booking during Christmas week:

You’ll see most travelers departing two-to-four days prior to Christmas, according to AAA. We’ve got Christmas Day on Monday this year, so you should at least expect Friday and Saturday, before the holiday, to be the busiest at airports.

Read further into the survey on AAA’s website.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.