Even In Tougher Economy, Travelers Plan Holiday Trips

Some 7.5 million Texans are hitting the road for end-of-the-year holiday travel, according to AAA Texas. Many consumers have been seeking last-minute deals at affordable winter destinations.

Whether visiting family and friends, or trying to fit in a holiday escape, a lot of the top holiday destinations are the usual suspects, according to Jeanenne Tornatore, who is a senior editor at Orbitz...

"Orlando's number one, New York, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago. The key is to travel on the off-peak days. The most expensive days to travel this year over Christmas are basically December 23rd through the 26th. Wait until the 27th or later — that's when you're going to find better deals on your airfare."

The internet has changed the way people travel.

"Every travel provider has their 'flash sales,' you know, which are those Groupon-type sales where you can really get dirt-cheap last-minute deals on things like hotels and packages. Does take a bit of research. When you're looking to travel over the holidays, it's a bit harder to find those last-minute deals over those couple of weeks."

There are some good deals in flights and getaways from the Houston area.

"For skiing, Lake Tahoe is where we're seeing fantastic deals this year, for early-season skiing for that high-volume holiday period."

Even with the down economy, hotel rates are up, generally.

"And that means that more people are getting out there, they're staying in hotels more, so you know, the hotels don't have to lower these rates. But this Christmas season, we're seeing a lot of people getting out there vacationing at these popular destinations, so you know, I think people are feeling comfortable. But they're also still looking for a deal."

Tornatore says when it comes to seeing grandma, people find a way.

"Especially over the holidays, people are going to fly home to see their families. And I think people also look to offset some of those extra costs in other ways — trying not to check their bags to have to pay those extra fees or making their own meals to save and offset some of the higher airfare costs."

AAA travel surveys indicate auto travel will likely increase three percent over the holidays, compared to a year ago.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...