Posted: Mar 8, 2012 5:12 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Mar 8, 2012 6:06 PM
BATON ROUGE - Travel agents estimate the cost of a plane ticket could go up 10 percent before Memorial Day, along with up to $100 fuel surcharges for cruises, thanks to gas prices. Some have forecast gas to jump to $5 a gallon by the end of the summer.
But saving money isn't difficult. Travel agents tell News 2 booking early is the best way to save money.
"Four to six weeks is pretty much your minimum," said agent Brenna McMahon. "If you can book at least a couple months in advance, that's where you're going to hit your really big savings."
For example, a flight to Las Vegas today could run you $350. By Memorial Day, agents who work with McMahon estimate it could run you $450.
Booking a flight to and from a larger airport could also save you between $50 and $100, McMahon said. That's because larger planes often fly to bigger airports, leaving more seats open.
"The more availability there is on a flight, the cheaper your ticket price is gonna be," McMahon said.
Booking all-inclusive packages is often less expensive than booking each facet of a trip separately. For example, hotel, airfare and cab to and from the airport for a five-day trip to a three-star hotel in Cancun costs about $1,400 when booked together. Book separately, and the same trip can add up to more than $2,200.
Travel agents who work with McMahon tell News 2 paying for the balance of your trip up front can save you fuel surcharges that could get added later. If your trip is already paid for, the likelihood of more charges goes down.
McMahon also added trips to the Caribbean and South America are cheapest in the summer. Prices for those trips often begin to decrease in May and continue to do so until the autumn months.
Travelers News 2 spoke with like Russell Hendricks boiled down the game of finding cheap travel the best. "If you look at the right time, you're gonna catch a bargain. Otherwise, you're gonna pay."