Detroit News photo illustration)
We can look forward to some good news for travel in 2014. We expect to see lots of sales for the slow winter season, which is a nice way to start off the year.
There are a number of periods of the year when travelers pay a premium. Those include New Year’s, spring break, summer, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The periods between these peak times offer some great prices, and January and February, when everyone goes back to work and school, are some of slowest months of year.
We should also see deals during March, excluding spring break. This year Easter is on April 20, so we’ll see travel bargains after the holiday through Memorial Day.
If you are heading to Europe, fares in summer — June to early August — will cost $500 to $700 more than off-peak prices.
Because Easter falls in April, the low winter season is longer this year. If you can get on an airplane before March 27, you should find the lowest airfares to Europe that we’ll see until next November. A family of four could save $2,000 to $3,000 round trip over summer rates.
Another tip for flying to Europe is to do comparison shopping with fares out of Houston, where many fares are $200 to $400 cheaper than Dallas fares.
Another low season we’ll see is when kids head back to school. This period will last until Thanksgiving, and we’ll also see bargains between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you’ve ever wanted to fly up front, you can find some bargain rates this winter.
There are $300 to $500 discounts on round-trip first-class fares to select Caribbean, Central American and Mexican destinations.
For example, we found a round-trip fare for travel Feb. 4-11 from Dallas to Cancun for $658 in first class.
While there are some first-class sale fares available in January, there are many for travel in February. Remember you do get three bags in first class, so if you want to bring a lot of baggage, the fees for checking three bags round trip, plus your coach-class ticket, would probably be more than the first-class fare.
The new year will offer some great airfares if you are flexible with your travel dates, but if you want to travel when the kids are out of school, expect to pay a premium. That’s just the plane facts, Jack.
Tom Parsons is CEO of bestfares.com