Airfare prices take a turn as we head into fall

Photo (c) Oleksii Karamanov - Getty Images

Hotel prices are up, but car rentals are down

As anyone who’s ever tried to book a flight knows, the prices they pay for airfare are anything but consistent. As luck would have it, wanderlusting travelers can now enjoy some very cheap flights both domestically and to Europe. 

To determine which cities in Europe are among the cheapest for Americans to reach right now, the researchers at Going.com looked at metro areas with a population of at least 700,000 people and collected data on how many economy-class deals to those cities the site sent to its Going Premium members in the last year.

The Top 10 cheapest European destinations

Here are the top ten cheapest European destinations from the US. The ranking is based on the volume of deals Going’s analysts found departing U.S. airports.  

  1. Paris - $230

  2. Dublin - $249

  3. Barcelona - $241

  4. Milan - $332

  5. Rome - $358

  6. Madrid - $279

  7. Copenhagen - $249

  8. Amsterdam - $174

  9. Zurich - $365

  10. Stockholm - $275

The average fare is pretty good, too. Analysts at the travel booking app Hopper told ConsumerAffairs that its Q3 Consumer Travel Index shows that overall, U.S. to Europe airfares are running, on average: $813 round-trip. For the U.S. to Asia, a round-tri fare averages $1,417. 

“There are several factors contributing to lower domestic airfare prices including lower jet fuel prices, recovered domestic capacity and a return in airline competition,” Hopper’s lead economist, Hayley Berg said.

“International demand has also recovered to pre-pandemic levels – marking a return to an equilibrium following the last three years of COVID-era travel restrictions. Though travelers have looked internationally this summer, Americans' focus will soon shift domestically as the holiday season approaches.”

How does domestic travel look? 

Hopper analysts think that traveling within the U.S. is still the better deal, especially because we’re moving into fall when the kids are back in school and most people have put their vacation plans back in the closet until next summer.

Below are the key findings and what Hopper says consumers can expect for flights, hotels and rental car prices in the coming months:

Flights:

Domestic (U.S.): $257 round-trip, down 11% from 2022 prices and down 10% from 2019

Hotels:

  • Hotel prices in the US are averaging $183 per night, up 11% compared to this time in 2022, but down from summer peaks over $100 per night. 

Car Rentals:

  • Rental car prices are averaging $45 per day, down 12% from this time last year.

Trending destinations for fall (destinations rising in popularity):

Domestic

  1. Melbourne, Florida

  2. Manchester, New Hampshire

  3. Reno, Nevada

  4. Buffalo, New York

  5. Charleston, South Carolina

International

  1. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  2. Sapporo, Japan

  3. Tokyo, Japan

  4. Osaka, Japan

  5. Taipei, Taiwan

Got your passport?

The federal government has been mum since March regarding its timeline for processing passports, but reading between the lines, the passport agency is full-tilt on remedying the issue.

When ConsumerAffairs looked for an update on the agency's site, it was hosting a large number of special passport acceptance fairs across the United States to help people apply for their passports.

In August and September, about 50 of those fairs are scheduled. Most are one-day events and reservations are required for some. If you need a passport anytime before the holidays, this might be your smartest move short term.

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