|Will you have to share your hotel room to keep costs low? (photo by Jason D'Great)|
That seems to be the message behind two depressing articles today about the expected rise in travel pricing for 2011. According to experts interviewed by the AP, airfares are already up an average of 14% just in the past year. With the cost of oil increasing, and the airlines' newly careful strategy of limiting capacity, most expect prices to climb even higher in the coming months.
Hotel stays, too, are expected to get costlier. In an article gloomily titled "The End of Hotel Deals", NY Times reporter Martha White cites the rise in business travel (while admitting leisure travel remains comparatively sluggish) for a 6% increase in hotel rates last year.
I find this news less alarming, as hotel rates had dropped sharply (often by as much as 40%) at the start of the recession. As well, as the article points out, the rebound has been unevenly distributed. White notes that hotels in cities on the coasts of the United States are doing far better than those in the interior. I'd hazard a guess that there's also a difference in occupancy between the hotels that cater to the growing number of business travelers and those that serve leisure travelers.
Bottom line: Its more important than ever to search smartly. Using such mega search engines as HotelsCombined.com, DoHop.com and Momondo.com will not only turn up more results, but also those stray bargains we travelers live to find. Its all in the search nowadays.