Travel expert: 'Strong amount of travel demand going into holiday season'

Americans are ready to travel again this holiday season with commercial airline travel up 17% worldwide in September.

Scott Keyes, founder of Scott's Cheap Flights, recently told Yahoo Finance Live (video above) that travel is almost at a pre-COVID peak, especially before the holidays.

"We are seeing a really, really strong amount of travel demand going forward into the holiday season," Keyes said. "And the number of people that are looking to take vacations or visit family and relatives is as high, if not higher, than it was pre-pandemic."

Keyes also noted that there is a new kind of "bleisure" traveler that mixes business and leisure that is fueling an increase in flight demand. He credits the increase in remote work over the last two years giving people more flexibility to travel — even while working.

"I think there is some amount of 'bleisure' that's happening today in a way that it hadn't pre-pandemic because it's so much more common or acceptable to be doing remote work — to be flying out on a Thursday, work on Thursday and Friday, and then have vacation in through your weekend," Keyes said. "That is a kind of tested and proven model today in a way that it wasn't in 2018 or 2019."

Keyes recommends that people who are traveling for business and leisure should book early.

"You generally want to try to avoid last-minute flights because they tend to be quite a bit more expensive, but not all last minute flights are equal. A flight booked a day before travel is almost certainly going to be more expensive than a flight booked a week before travel," Keyes said.

A recent report by Hopper, a travel app, found that domestic airfare will run $350 for an average round-trip for Thanksgiving travel, up 22% compared with 2019 and 43% higher than last year.

But Keyes noted that the week of Thanksgiving is the best time to travel overseas.

"If you got the week off work or the kids are out of school, it is the hidden best week for international travel. Folks don't think of Thanksgiving as a cheap time to fly, but that's because most folks are traveling domestically where Thanksgiving is a big holiday," Keyes said. "Internationally, it is not a holiday, and late November is very much low season."

Ella Vincent is the personal finance reporter for Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @bookgirlchicago.

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