The good, the bad and the ugly of PFD airfare deals


Alaskans have grown up with the Permanent Fund dividend — and with the travel deals that accompany the annual payout.

This year is no different, other than the PFD checks are distributed a couple of weeks early.

The big bargains are coming from Alaska Airlines. But this year, for the first time, Delta is rolling out discounts from all three of its year-round Alaska gateways: Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Delta offers flights from Juneau only on Saturdays and Sundays through the winter.

Alaska Air, for its part, is offering sale prices from all of its jet ports, except Prudhoe Bay. In addition to offering bargains on flights to the Lower 48, Alaska is offering discounted fares for in-state travel. From Kotzebue to Anchorage is $126 one-way. From Fairbanks to Bethel is $164 one-way.

Delta is offering discounted fares to most, but not all, of its destinations in the Lower 48. From Rochester, New York, to Birmingham, Alabama to Duluth, Minnesota, Delta is offering a PFD fare.

Whether you’re flying on Delta or Alaska, you have to plan at least 21 days in advance. That’s really not an issue, though, since many of the destinations don’t have availability until early December.

Many travelers are ready for airfares to come down from the dizzying summertime prices. Checking on PFD fares from both carriers, there’s some good, some bad and some ugly features.

Good

Alaska Airlines is resuming its nonstop flights to Hawaii from Anchorage. The nonstop to Honolulu starts on Nov. 18, but prices are high until Jan. 9, 2023 when tickets are available for as little as $177 one-way.

Alaska’s Anchorage-Maui nonstop resumes in mid-December. But the deals roll out as Alaska Air introduces daily service on Jan. 9. The tickets are priced low: $159 each way.

Alaska Air also is flying nonstop every day from Anchorage to Kona between Jan. 9 and Mar. 16. The PFD special is $159 each way.

Delta’s twice-weekly flights between Juneau and Seattle this winter are enough to keep a damper on prices. The airline is charging $79 each way between Juneau and Seattle. But Juneau travelers can fly all the way to New York for $165 each way. Or to Phoenix for $140 each way.

Delta’s single daily flight between Fairbanks and Seattle also keeps prices down all winter in the Golden Heart City. Many fares, such as Fairbanks-Seattle for $99 each way, are the same as Anchorage rates. That’s a win for Fairbanks travelers, who are accustomed to paying much more for air travel. Another “common-rated” destination is San Jose del Cabo at the tip of Baja California. Whether you leave from Anchorage or Fairbanks on Alaska Airlines, the prices start at just $199 each way. The return flights cost more: from $249 one-way.

Alaska Airlines is bringing extra firepower to its PFD sale this year. The airline is giving away a couple of Holland America cruises (including airfare), as well as two sets of Alaska Air tickets in a PFD Sweepstakes. No purchase is necessary.

Delta resumed its two-bags-free offer for Alaska residents. To qualify, you have to be a SkyMiles member at least 24 hours prior to check-in.

With both Delta and Alaska offering PFD fares, there are good deals to lots of towns that aren’t normally on sale. This includes Alaska’s PFD offers to all its destinations in Alaska (except Prudhoe Bay and seasonal service to Gustavus). For Delta, it includes destinations like Des Moines, Iowa, Fargo, N.D., Memphis, Tennessee, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Charlotte, N.C.

Bad

When you’re searching for a good deal, be aware of the connection time. Airlines will display fares that have two stops, or include 8-hour layovers. For example, on Nov. 1, Delta offers a flight from Anchorage to L.A. for $158 one-way. Alaska offers the same fare, but there’s an eight-hour layover in Seattle.

All the prices quoted here are for “Saver” tickets of “Basic Economy” on Delta. That means you cannot change your ticket. Pre-assigned seats are very rare on Alaska Air and specifically not included with Delta. On Delta, you won’t earn SkyMiles credit with Basic flights. The upcharge to “Main Cabin” is between $30 and $60 each way.

Delta is not offering a PFD special to three of its most-popular hubs: Atlanta, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. But Alaska is offering promo fares to those cities. Delta is offering a nice fare of $198 one-way between Anchorage and Detroit.

Ugly

Blackouts. You cannot find a PFD fare at Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break. Those flights typically are full of schoolkids, their parents and their teachers.

Alaska Air’s blackout dates are comprehensive: Nov. 17-28 (Thanksgiving), Dec. 15-Jan. 8, 2023 (Christmas) and March 10-21, 2023 (Spring Break).

Delta’s list of blackout dates is more complicated: Nov. 18-29, Dec. 16-18, 20-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2023. Feb. 16-17, 20. March 3-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27 and March 30-April 3. April 6-10, 13-16, 21-23.

There are other important facts about the PFD sale. All tickets must be purchased by Sept. 29. All travel must be completed by May 17, 2023 for Alaska Air destinations. Some Delta destinations end earlier than that, though. For example, travel on Delta to Memphis is available for $198 one-way and travel must be completed by March 8, 2023.

Between Alaska and most destinations in the Lower 48, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Prices and restrictions change without notice. They’ve already changed since they were introduced earlier this week. They are likely to change again before the sale ends on Sept. 29.





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Tricks to save on airfare & gas right now


Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save. Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below. FlightsIf you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure. For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals. Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France. Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination. Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option. If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is. When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.Hotels Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up. But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings. Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward. Make travel easier There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner. After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox. A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages. Save on gas Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.). Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route. Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users. GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon. The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon. GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.

Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save.

Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below.

Flights

If you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure.

For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals.

Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France.

Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination.

Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option.

If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is.

When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.

Hotels

Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up.

But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.

Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings.

Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward.

Make travel easier

There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner.

After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox.

A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages.

Save on gas

Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.).

Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route.

Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users.

GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon.

The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.

Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon.

GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.



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Here is a red-hot tip on how to save big money on airfare


Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Greeks celebrate Easter without restrictions

For the first time in three years, Greeks were able to celebrate Orthodox Easter without the restrictions made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the obvious religious messages, in Greece, Easter signifies a return to the countryside, often to people’s ancestral homes, and a mass exodus from big cities. Police and port authorities say that this year’s exodus was significantly higher than that of pre-pandemic 2019.



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As the summer travel season nears, prices are rising for airfare and car rentals


Ask anyone who’s been traveling during the pandemic, and they’ll tell you that the travel experience is changing.

That’s such an understatement, but it’s an accurate description. It’s not just the flights that are more expensive. Nor is it the shortage of rental cars. It’s not fair to blame vaccination requirements and mask mandates, either. Rather, it’s that all of these things are happening at once.

For my flight Friday morning, I was looking forward to seeing what the airport looked like in the new “masks are optional” mode. By my calculation, fewer than 10% of the people at the airport were wearing masks.

At the gate, right before boarding, Alaska Airlines canceled the flight. There was no pilot to fly the plane. Thankfully, the staff at the gate rebooked me for the next flight 90 minutes later.

While planning my last-minute trip to Fairbanks on Thursday night, it was a challenge getting a rental car. I finally found a brand-new Jeep Cherokee at Alaska 4×4 Rentals. The cost was almost as much as my airline ticket. And my last-minute ticket was expensive.

The shock-and-awe of pricing and availability certainly is not limited to cities in Alaska, though. But it’s rough right here. Airlines are having a tough time staffing up for increased travel demand. Some carriers are cutting flights. And rental car companies still can’t find enough cars.

“I could use an extra 400-500 cars here in Anchorage,” said Gary Zimmerman, general manager of three rental car brands in Anchorage: Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty.

If you can’t find a hotel room, it may not mean that every room is booked. Rather, there may not be enough staff to clean the rooms.

Looking at travel prices in the U.S., pricing is up and availability is limited. Reports that air prices had gone up 40% in recent months is an over-simplification, I think. But almost everything costs more — and prices continue to rise.

Just last month, it was easy to find a ticket from Anchorage to New York for $111 one-way. Earlier this year, prices were hovering around $103 one-way.

If you want to fly in late June, United has a daily nonstop flight, priced around $1,023 round-trip. Alaska Airlines offers one-stop service via Seattle for about $851 round-trip.

Renting a car in Newark isn’t cheap, either. A two-day weekend rental will cost about $228. A one-day midweek rental costs more: about $199 per day. To check rental car rates, I used Costco’s rental car search engine. You have to be a member to book it, but I’ve found it to be a dependable source.

Are you flying to Chicago? Last month, I found tickets for $127 one-way on nonstop flights with United and Alaska Airlines. For travel in late June, Alaska offers one-stop service for $561 round-trip. United’s nonstops are running $608 round-trip. For comparison’s sake, I picked a June 29 departure for a weeklong stay. Prices vary — which means they could cost much more, but not much less.

To rent a car over the weekend, the cost was $273 for two days. With Costco’s search engine, you’ll find four companies featured: Avis, Budget, Alamo and Enterprise. That’s really just two companies, though, since Avis and Budget are owned by the same company. Alamo is owned by Enterprise, which also owns National.

To Denver, prices hovered around $149 one-way for most of the winter. But traveling in late June will cost more: $563 round-trip on Delta, via Seattle or Salt Lake. Alaska Airlines has a nonstop: $638 round-trip. A rental car for two days will cost around $273 round-trip.

Between Anchorage and San Francisco, both United and Alaska offer summertime nonstops. They’re more expensive than one-stop service this summer. For most of the winter, one-stop flights were selling for $139 one-way. Traveling in June costs more: $460 round-trip on Delta via Seattle, or nonstop on Alaska Airlines for $556 round-trip. Cars cost more, too: around $314 for a two-day weekend rental.

Even Seattle prices are going up. Last month the prevailing rate was $99 one-way on either Alaska or Delta. That price doubles if you’re traveling in late June. I couldn’t find a single car for rent in late June on the Costco site. So I went to Hertz and found a two-day rental for $398.

It’s one thing to have prices go up on regularly scheduled flights. It’s another thing when the flights are canceled. And it’s happening on both domestic and international carriers.

Icelandair canceled its Anchorage-Reykjavik schedule altogether. But other international carriers are canceling flights, too. Eurowings Discover, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, had scheduled three flights a week from Anchorage to Frankfurt starting June 1. But now, the first flight is June 13.

Condor Airlines also is flying Anchorage-Frankfurt, starting May 21. But the airline canceled its first two Sunday flights, May 22 and 29.

Flair Airlines, the super-cheap Canadian airline, was slated to start flying to Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 20. But the carrier pushed the launch back by more than a month, to June 24.

Alaska Airlines is reducing its schedule to several destinations. The Anchorage-Salt Lake daily nonstop was supposed to launch June 17. Now the first flight is on June 18, but will operate only once a week through the summer.

Alaska’s daily nonstop service from Anchorage to Minneapolis was supposed to launch the same day, June 17. But now Alaska is flying Saturday and Sunday only until July 1, when daily service begins.

Schedule changes and cancellations happen all the time. But these are last-minute changes, brought on in part by labor shortages, the pandemic, increased demand and fuel prices. As scheduled flights are canceled, it adds more upward pressure on fares for the remaining flights.

My rescheduled flight to Fairbanks was a success — and it’s beautiful here in the Golden Heart City. I’m not really upset about my original flight being canceled, either. I got a note saying that the pilot’s wife went into labor at the last moment, which is why he called out.





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Tips for How To Save on Summer Travel Amid Rising Airfare Prices


With fuel costs at record highs, which is bad news for road-trippers and air passengers alike, many travelers are rethinking their summer trip plans and contemplating how they might be able to avoid expensive long-haul flights while still getting to enjoy a satisfying destination.

To answer that question, the analysts at travel comparison site Hopper researched and assembled the ultimate guide on ways to save money on your summer travel without missing out on the aspects of travel you were most looking forward to.

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Summer Travel Costs

The average price of airfare for U.S. domestic travel this summer for consumers booking in April is about $344, an increase of over 20 percent in comparison to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. The price of an international flight to Europe, Mexico or Central America is sitting slightly above 2019 levels, and airfare is currently costing travelers about $881 to Europe and around $458 to Mexico and Central America. Summer travel from the U.S. to Canada is roughly 19 percent dearer this year than in 2019 and, on average, will cost passengers about $387 roundtrip.

How To Save This Summer

Hopper offers a few recommendations for savvy travelers on how to root out great deals, even amid rising travel prices.

1) Use a price-monitoring tool (like Hopper) to receive real-time notifications when the best deals and lowest pricing is available to your destination.

2) Be flexible with your dates, staying open to departing a day earlier or returning a day later than you’d planned, as this will sometimes make a significant difference in your trip’s price.

3) Consider destinations closer to home. To accompany this advice, Hopper put together a “Go here, not there” guide to help consumers save money while still getting the kind of experience they’re seeking.

Wine Country

With roundtrip airfare to Italy’s iconic wine-producing region of Tuscany averaging over $1,100 this summer, budget-conscious travelers might consider visiting beautiful wine-producing regions that are closer to home, including Napa and Sonoma Counties, other spots along California’s Central Coast like Paso Robles or a bit further north in Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef may be a bucket-list item for underwater enthusiasts, but with roundtrip airfare to the ‘Land Down Under’ priced at over $2,000 for flights from June through August, it may be worth looking elsewhere. There are some astonishing and exotic dive sites here in Western Hemisphere that could cost you up to 70 percent less than a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Instead, perhaps head to the Galapagos Islands to dive off of the coast of Floreana, an island formed over 1.5 million years ago, or explore the Great Blue Hole in Belize, the largest underwater sinkhole on Earth.

European Old World Charm

Travelers keen to experience the Old World charm and historic places of Europe will find that roundtrip tickets to major hub cities like Paris and Rome will run them over $920 this summer, with airfare to Paris up by more than 20 percent over summer 2019. Much of the same type of Old World charm and historic architecture can also be experienced more affordably in destinations closer to home. Head to Quebec City or Montreal for French influences; view Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S.’ oldest town, St. Augustine, or immerse yourself in the distinctive mixture of French, African and American cultures found in New Orleans. Selecting one of these alternative destinations this summer can save you $500 or more per roundtrip ticket.

Beach Party

Those seeking sun, sand and surf alongside an active nightlife scene typically flock to Spain’s island of Ibiza for white-sand beaches, epic nightclubs, dancing and live music. But, this summer, travelers might consider trading in a big-ticket trip to Ibiza for a visit to Miami or Tulum, where they’ll find incredible white-sand beaches during the day and exciting nightlife options for only a fraction of the price. A trip to Tulum via Cancun will cost you about half as much as one to the Spanish party island, while opting for Miami will save you nearly 75 percent.





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Local travel advisors offer 7 tips for booking airfare right now




Flights

“Be patient. Be prepared.”

Erin Clark/Globe Staff
People waited in line to check their bags at Boston Logan International Airport in December. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

It has been a challenging month full of delays and cancellations for several airlines, JetBlue in particular, which has frustrated travelers at Logan International Airport.

JetBlue, Logan’s largest carrier, has struggled with delays and cancellations at Logan all week, and by late Friday morning, was responsible for 52 of the airport’s 101 delays and 13 of the airport’s 19 cancellations, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The airline apologized to customers earlier this week, noting that staffing shortages are creating a challenge, so the airline is adjusting flight schedules and reducing its amount of summer flights.

“As a whole, travel has come back really rapidly and some airlines are better prepared for it than others,” said Kristin Chambers, founder and lead travel advisor at D.A. Luxury Travel and TRAVELLUSTRE in Boston.

Chambers and Mary Ann Born, owner of Born to Travel in Hingham, are veteran advisors with 20 years of experience each in the business.

Worried your flight will be delayed or cancelled? Travel experts offered the following seven tips for booking airfare right now.

Get travel insurance

When asked if travelers should buy travel insurance, Chambers said: “One hundred percent.”

Born agreed, saying: “With Covid, it has become even more critical.”

Travelers can often add insurance when buying their plane tickets, Chambers said. Or travelers can shop around, especially if they want insurance that will cover accommodations and other aspects of a trip, she said.

“Just read the fine print,” Chambers said. “See what it covers. It’s all different. A lot of times, your flight needs to be delayed for a certain amount of time in order for coverage to kick in, for example.”

Chambers works with four insurance companies and meets with them on a weekly basis to keep abreast of changes in policies.

Buy refundable tickets

Both experts said it’s well worth buying a refundable ticket right now.

“I have been telling my clients you need to buy everything you can buy as refundable as possible, even if it costs you a little bit more money right now,” Born said.

If your airline can’t rebook you in time to make that special occasion in another city, you can rebook on another airline knowing you’ll be refunded for the flight that didn’t work out, Chambers said.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with other flights so you can pivot to a plan B right away, she said.

“Know what your options are,” she said. “Be proactive. When something gets canceled, the masses go and rebook and, within seconds, everything is sold out. So know what your options are right away. Don’t wait until the flight is canceled.”

Avoid the busiest travel days

Chambers said it’s best to avoid typically busy travel days.

“If you can, avoid the high, high, high travel days, if you are flexible by a few days on each end,” Chambers said. “Maybe try not to travel on that Saturday starting April break. Maybe go a couple of days before or a couple of days after.”

If your airline has waived change fees, take advantage of that and change your flight ahead of time to a less busy travel day, Born said.

“Many of the tickets people are in possession of now are free change tickets because of Covid,” Born said. “If they’re nervous they can try to get there a day early if they can.”

Book nonstop flights

Eliminate as many stops in your travel as possible by booking nonstop flights, Chambers said. More flights create more opportunity for mishaps.

“If the nonstop is additional, pay the additional for the nonstop,” Chambers said.

Avoid short layovers

If you must book a flight with a connection, avoid short layovers, Born said.

“You should be afraid to book a flight that puts you in a tight connection,” Born said.

Make sure you have more than an hour’s time to get to your next flight after deplaning, Chambers said.

Book airfare through your cruise line

For cruise travelers, book your flight through your cruise line, Born said.

“Because if you book your air through the cruise line and there is a foul up, the cruise line guarantees they’ll get you to the cruise on time,” she said.

The cruise line’s dedicated 24-hour emergency team will arrange your transportation and take care of the costs, she said. Cruise lines such as Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Azamara all have these services, she said.

For those booking airfare on their own, remember that airline changes could result in missing the ship, Born said.

So if, for example, your cruise leaves on Saturday, try to book your flight for the earliest time possible on the previous day, Born said, so you have a cushion should your flight get delayed or cancelled.

“Try not to jam yourself into a corner,” she said.

Be patient

It is frustrating to deal with delays and cancellations, but try to keep your emotions in check, Chambers said.

“I think everybody in the travel industry right now has gone through — us included — a brutal two years, she said. “I think people have no patience for people who are going to yell and scream.”

Airline employees are doing the best they can, she said.

“Be nice to the airline employees,” she said. “It’s been brutal. It’s been really really brutal. Kill them with kindness. Be patient. Be prepared.”

“Get out there and be brave and travel,” is Born’s message to travelers. “But understand that Covid still exists and there’s a possibility that during their trip things can happen.”





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Ukraine crisis could lead to a surge in airfare prices


KANSAS CITY, Mo — With gas prices increasing to new highs and tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalating, the travel industry is bracing for another potential blow.

Mark Comfort is a Kansas City-based travel adviser and owns Cruise Holidays and Comfort Tours. He says it’s too early to predict how much air fare will go up, but the demand to travel is still there and growing. Comfort says this past February was his biggest month in 33 years and said Alaska, Mexico and the Caribbean were top travel destinations for his clients

“Fuel is a big deal, you’ll see prices going up when they go up,” Comfort said.

Even though airfare pries have the potential of going up, Comfort thinks airlines will still keep prices competitive, with the global travel industry actively trying to rebound from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Comfort said travelers are currently cashing in on exclusive deals at resorts and hotels, who want to attract travelers back into their doors.

“Everything is supply and demand, so as the demand goes up, the price goes up,” Comfort said. “They have to keep their prices competitive so people will want to go, so now is actually an incredible time to vacation and to plan a vacation.”

Comfort encourages people who want to travel to act now with demand expected to go up in the next 3 -5 months and to invest in travel insurance on your next trip.

“Be wise, be cautious, be comfortable and protect yourself with travel insurance, especially if you have to cancel for any reason,” Comfort said.

Another travel tip Comfort said is to remember a lot of international destinations continue to have COVID-19 protocols in place. He said this is why going to travel adviser for your next vacation is beneficial.

“People want counselors we’ve actually changed the name of our of our agents to travel advisers, and in our case, vacation advisers because people want to know what the COVID policies are, they want to know everything before they go and it’s very confusing and you don’t want to make a mistake.”





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Tricks to save on airfare & gas right now


Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save. Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below. FlightsIf you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure. For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals. Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France. Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination. Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option. If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is. When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.Hotels Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up. But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings. Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward. Make travel easier There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner. After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox. A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages. Save on gas Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.). Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route. Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users. GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon. The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon. GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.

Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save.

Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below.

Flights

If you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure.

For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals.

Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France.

Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination.

Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option.

If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is.

When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.

Hotels

Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up.

But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.

Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings.

Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward.

Make travel easier

There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner.

After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox.

A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages.

Save on gas

Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.).

Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route.

Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users.

GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon.

The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.

Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon.

GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.



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Tricks to save on airfare & gas right now


Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save. Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below. FlightsIf you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure. For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals. Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France. Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination. Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option. If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is. When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.Hotels Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up. But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings. Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward. Make travel easier There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner. After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox. A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages. Save on gas Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.). Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route. Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users. GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon. The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon. GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.

Travel prices are hitting record highs. If you’re thinking about planning a vacation, there are some easy ways you can save.

Hopper is now out with its 2022 Spring Break travel report. Take a look below.

Flights

If you’re taking a domestic trip, you should expect to pay around $290 for a roundtrip this month. That’s a 21% jump from last year’s spring break travel season. Prices are rising about 45% to $365 between now and the week before departure.

For international trips, airfare is averaging $690 for a roundtrip. A week before departure, prices are expected to rise to $800. Hopper says to book at least three to four weeks in advance to get the best deals.

Most booked domestic destinations? Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

Most booked international destination? Cancun, Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, Cabo, Mexico and Paris, France.

Travel Tip: Travel experts say if you’re not entirely sure where you want to go, but you don’t want to break the bank, don’t choose the popular destination.

Head to a site like Google Flights. Type in where you’re leaving from and the state you’d like to visit. The website will show you how much airfare is going for in multiple cities and you can choose the cheapest option.

If you’ve picked your destination, the website/app Hopper will track the price of airfare to let you know when the best time to buy is.

When you buy could also save you money. According to Expedia’s 2022 forecast, buying your ticket on a Sunday could save you between 5% and 10%.

Hotels

Hopper says travelers should expect to pay about $165 a night, which is an 8% increase from last month’s prices. Places like Panama City Beach, Florida, saw hotel prices going up.

But there were some destinations seeing price drops as well. Coming off its seasonally pricier ski season, Lake Tahoe saw the biggest drop in prices, down 23%, from $229 a night to $177 a night.

Travel Tip: Sign up for a hotel’s free loyalty programs. You probably belong to a bunch, but this could save you money. Many hotel chain programs include a best-rate guarantee, free upgrades, free nights, or items with bookings.

Or you can sign up for a loyalty program offered by a third-party booking website. Those programs will also offer free nights as a reward.

Make travel easier

There are apps that make traveling less of a headache. TripCase and TripIt are apps that act as your travel planner.

After you get a confirmation email with your reservation, forward it to the app (whichever you choose). Both apps hold your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. all in one place. It’s easy to scroll through rather than sorting through your email inbox.

A bonus: The apps will also send you real-time alerts if your flight gets delayed, canceled, or if there’s a gate change. You can get these alerts through push notifications and/or text messages.

Save on gas

Going on a road trip? Hopper says rental car prices are trending similarly to 2021. For mid-March, expect to pay about $70 a day for a rental car (before fees, taxes, insurance, etc.).

Travel Tip: Gas prices are spiking. Before you fill up at the first gas station you see, save at the pump with free apps. You probably already have the Waze app on your phone for navigation, but you can also use it to find gas stations along your route.

Tap the “Where to?” button and then the gas pump icon. You’ll see various gas stations along your route with their prices. If the icon is red, that means it’s the highest price in the area. The list of stations will also tell you how far you’ll have to drive. Prices are updated by fellow Waze users.

GasBuddy is another app that tracks the gas prices in your area, displaying the price posted on the pump. You can view it in a list form or on a map. But it also saves you money when you fuel up. Through the app, you can get a free card that links to your bank account. Every time you swipe with the card, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon.

The app showcases “Deal Alerts”, which are flash sales and coupons for even steeper discounts. Once you activate the deal and swipe the card at the pump, you’ll save money.

Additionally, if you are part of a loyalty program like Shell Fuel Rewards — you will get an additional 5 cents off per gallon.

GasBuddy came out with a study, tracking gas prices across the country to determine the best and worst days of the week to fill your tank and save the most money. Take a look at the map below to see where your state (or the state you’re visiting) falls.



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A half-off airfare deal for Alaska residents arrives as Hawaii welcomes visitors once more


There’s good news from the Land of Aloha. Gov. David Ige has officially rolled out the red carpet, extending a warm welcome to tourists to once again visit Hawaii.

Back in August, Ige publicly asked tourists to stay away from the islands due to high COVID-19 infection counts and pressure on hospitals.

Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Anchorage to Honolulu, Maui and Kona. And those flights are on sale. This sale is a little different from the sale last week, or the week before.

Alaskans who want to visit Hawaii must either be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test result to avoid a 10-day quarantine on arrival.

[Hawaii governor invites vaccinated tourists to start coming back on Nov. 1]

Travel to Canada finally is a two-way street. While vaccinated travelers now are allowed to drive into Canada, Canadians were not allowed to enter the U.S. by road. That’s changing on Nov. 8, when the U.S. will allow road traffic from Canada (and Mexico).

In addition to international travel, the Canadian government is mandating that travelers be vaccinated on domestic flights and trains.

As travel slows down between Alaska and the Lower 49 (including Hawaii), airlines keep coming up with fare sales. It’s a little tough when some of the fares already are super-low. That includes routes like Anchorage to Fort Myers, Florida ($102 one-way on Delta), or New York ($116 one-way on Alaska Airlines).

Alaska Airlines has a sale right now that offers 49% off the total price of two tickets when you’re traveling together. The sale is to commemorate 10 years of their “Club 49″ program. It’s open only to Club 49 members.

It’s free to belong to Club 49, but you have to live in Alaska. The most popular feature is that members get two free checked bags when traveling to or from Alaska.

To take advantage of the 49% discount, sign in to your Alaska Airlines online account. On the left-hand side of your “account” page is a link to “discount and companion fare codes.” That’s where you’ll find the discount code. Click on the box that says “shop” and you can start shopping for tickets.

I’ve heard from several travelers who have been members of the Club 49 program since it started — and they didn’t receive a code. For a variety of reasons, some names were deleted from the Club 49 roster. All you have to do is call Alaska Airlines to be re-added to the list. Everyone I’ve spoken with either called or used the “chat” function on Alaska’s website to get re-enrolled and to receive the discount code promptly.

As is often the case, there are lots of rules and restrictions. You cannot get the discount over Thanksgiving, Christmas or spring break. Some destinations, like Hawaii and Belize, are only available on certain days.

The discount code that Alaska Air sends to you is good for two people traveling on the same itinerary, similar to the Visa card companion fares. Travel is valid between now and May 15, 2022.

Alaska’s hot new destination is Belize, so I plugged in my one-time-only code to see how much it costs. Traveling Dec. 2-9, my wife and I could fly in “Saver” seats for $740, or $370 per person.

If you’ve got Hawaii on the brain, take advantage of Gov. Ige’s offer of “aloha” as the days get shorter. Fly nonstop from Anchorage to Maui on Alaska’s nonstop. Fly Dec. 8-15 for $512 round trip, or $256 each. It’s even cheaper to fly from Anchorage to Honolulu: $430 round trip for two, or $215 each (in Saver seats).

Phoenix has the sun, but not the beach. Fly on Alaska’s nonstop from Anchorage Jan. 9-15 for a total of $350 round trip, or $175 per person.

If you want to go to Seattle, keep in mind that King County has a strict vaccination policy for many public venues. According to King County’s website, “King County will require verification of full vaccination status or a negative test to enter outdoor public events of 500 or more people and indoor entertainment and recreational establishments and events such as live music, performing arts, gyms, restaurants, and bars.”

The price for two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines between Anchorage and Seattle using the discount code is $228 round trip, or $114 each. Or, if you just want to travel one-way, it’s $57.

If you are counting your frequent flyer miles to get your elite MVP or MVP Gold status, Alaska Air is offering a 50% bonus through Dec. 31. If you’re traveling to Seattle (2,880 miles round trip), Alaska would award you a 1,440-mile bonus. The bonus miles can’t be redeemed for free tickets — but it does give you an extra boost to your next elite-level tier.





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