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(NEW YORK) – As summer approaches, travelers are gearing up in droves for trips after many people postponed vacations for years during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that’s reflected in the price.

“This summer, Americans can expect to pay more for airfare than they’ve paid in the past 10 years,” said Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper, an online booking platform, at ABC News. hello america. “Currently, round-trip domestic travel costs approximately $360, which represents a 15% increase from 2019, the last normal year for travel before the pandemic, and a significant increase since the start of the pandemic. ‘year.”

But even as travel prices rise amid increased travel demand, travelers can still get great deals, according to travel experts, who have some key tips to ensure low airfares as summer travel are warming up.

Berg recommends customers book summer flights before the first week of May. After that, “prices will continue to rise,” Berg said.

“If you’re planning a trip right now, be aggressive, start planning early and take a look at your route where you’re flying and how busy it is,” added Willis Orlando, senior operations specialist at products for Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Although you may wait for a sale or a day when fares have dropped on popular routes where there is a lot of competition, booking early is especially important if you are booking travel in an area or route that does not have a lot of competition, Orlando said CMG.

“If your route is served by one or at most two airlines, you don’t have that competition, you can expect those high prices to persist,” Orlando said. “In that case, start watching it early, and as soon as you see a drop to a reasonable level, lock it in, because you probably won’t see a drop much further than that.”

When purchasing an airline ticket, flexibility in terms of dates and locations can mean better prices, whether departing on a different day of the week or flying to a more regional airport. small.

“Try to book your departing flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when prices are usually lowest,” Berg said. “Or if you’re flexible about where you fly to or from, check out more regional airports. Often low-cost carriers will depart from regional airports.

Another great way to get a great deal is to track the prices of favorite flights.

“Use a price watch tool to be informed of price trends and price trends,” Berg said.

Another concern raised by experts is the shortage of pilots, which has led some airlines to cut summer flight schedules as well as delays and cancellations across the industry.

To avoid this, experts advise booking on off-peak days and booking flights for the morning. If you’re traveling for a wedding or other specific event, Berg recommends arriving a day or two early, in case of delays or cancellations.

“The biggest thing you can do is be flexible and fly outside peak times, so if you’re going try to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. It’s a little less busy these days, which means if there’s a problem somewhere, it’s less likely to turn into some sort of mass cancellation event,” Orlando said.

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