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How can you avoid sky-high holiday travel costs this year? Experts offer their advice

Holiday travel prices already soaring, experts say
Holiday travel prices already soaring, experts say 02:43

NEW YORK -- If you thought the summer travel squeeze was bad, brace yourself; some economists are predicting the most expensive holiday travel season in five years, with prices already soaring well over last year.

CBS2's Tim McNicholas looked into some ways you might be able to save.

A carousel of complaints spins around Newark Airport.

"It was very pricey," traveler Edith Flowers said.

"I would've been happier if it was a little bit cheaper," traveler Samantha Branco said.

"Oh, it's, like, so expensive to travel," traveler Kalia Crook said.

Crook drove from Rockland County to pick her mom from the airport. It's a favor Mom would like to return, but thanks to the prices?

"I was intending on going home to Seattle for the holidays, but I probably won't. I'm gonna just probably go, like, in January some time," Crook said.

"Airfare for Christmas has already reached a five-year high," said Hayley Berg, an economist for the travel app Hopper. "We're already seeing airfare 20 to 40 percent higher than last year's prices for both Thanksgiving and Christmas."

Right now, the average domestic flight for a Christmas vacation will cost you $383 round trip, up 38 percent from 2021 and 4 percent from 2019.

The reasons? Travel demand is up, but many airlines are still flying less than pre-pandemic. On top of that, the price of jet fuel has nearly doubled.

RELATED STORY: Time to book Thanksgiving travel: Expert advice for best deals on flights, hotels and more

So how can you limit those sky-high costs? Well, experts say if you haven't booked your ticket yet, you should do so as soon as possible, and if you can, you might rethink when to fly.

"Those holiday days are, they're very popular. Everyone is trying to fly," said LaTasha Griffin, of the Griffin Vacation Group.

She says you can save money by avoiding peak travel times, like the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

"If you do have the flexibility, try to go out a little bit earlier and then try to return a little bit later," she said.

Earlier this fall, President Joe Biden proposed a new set of rules that would require airlines and travel sites to disclose any additional fees upfront. The first time an airfare is displayed, you'd see the fees to sit with your child, cancel or change your flight, or check your bags.

But many customers are looking for more than just increased transparency.

"Prices are crazy," one traveler said.

"It's expensive," another said.

And that carousel just keeps spinning.

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