If you have the money and the vacation time, by all means use them now. According to SmarterTravel's Anne Banas, there were seven major airfare hikes this year before mid-March, with fares jumping roughly every 10 days at one point.
Those were just the hikes that stuck. United (UAL), Continental, Delta (DAL), American (AMR) and U.S. Airways (LCC) tried to push through another $10 increase on round-trip fares after instituting one two weeks ago, but Southwest (LUV), JetBlue (JBLU) and AirTran (AAI) refused to play along. That led Delta and American to push back some fares and eventually collapsed the hike altogether.
Considering travelers haven't even reached peak summer travel months yet, they shouldn't expect those fares to just sit there for long. Combined with ever-increasing fees, those rising fares are a great impetus for travelers to book their tax return into a trip quickly. Expedia (EXPE), for example, is offering trips from New York to Barcelona that include a four-night stay at the Hotel Europark for $1,320 per person. If that's not quite your speed, they're also offering trips from Los Angeles to Honolulu and a four-night stay at the Kahala Hotel and Resort for $1,425 per person. With more than $3,100 to play around with, it wouldn't hurt to bring a friend.
How exactly is this a good investment? Well, there are always the pictures and memories they can't take away from you, but getting away to a place that in no way resembles work or home usually pays off in unloaded stress. You won't be alone in your splurge, either, as 11.9% of Americans told the NRF they plan to blow their return on vacations this year.
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