More US travellers taking trips this fall

Friday, September 18, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 38

If you’re considering traveling this fall you won’t be the only one flying the friendly skies or getting in the car for a road trip, according to U.S. travel consumer research firm D.K. Shifflet & Associates.

The Virginia-based organization began producing quarterly travel intention reports in 2012 and its latest report, which came out earlier this month, shows fall travel to be on the rise across the board.

Sixty-three percent of baby boomers are projected to travel this fall, up from 57 percent in fall 2014. Fifty-four percent of Generation X will travel this fall, up from 49 percent last year. And 53 percent of millennials will travel this fall, up from 45 percent the same period last year.

Maybe the decline in airfare prices as we head into the fall travel season has something to do with a projected increase in overall travel by Americans.

In line with an overall drop in oil prices, jet fuel prices have declined nearly 35 percent this year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Airline profits are up, and fares are down, nearly 6 percent this summer. The 5.6 percent drop in July was the biggest fare decline since 1995, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index.

Hopper, a Montreal- and Boston-based company that analyzes airfare data, predicts domestic airfare will average $250 this fall, 2.6 percent lower than last year’s levels. Prices will average about $249, 2.8 percent cheaper than in 2014 and 6.8 percent cheaper than in 2013.

Hopper’s forecast shows average airfares in the U.S. to cost $252 in September, $248 in October, $252 in November and $244 in December. Hopper’s predictions for lower prices in the fall are based on summer fares that were cheaper than last summer.

With airfare prices cheaper and gas prices more economical, getting there won’t be quite the financial burden this fall.

September and October are my favorite times to travel. The temperatures aren’t as hot, shoulder season prices are inviting and smaller crowds make many destinations appealing.

One of my favorite fall trips was a couple of years ago when we spent a week exploring New Mexico during October. The weather was beautiful with highs in the 60s and 70s and evening lows dropping into the 40s. In fact, the first snow of the season hit the mountain above Santa Fe one evening.

But closer to home, treks to small towns across the South for college football and festivals in cities big and small make weekend excursions an attractive option. Gas prices are cheaper, remember?

I have my eyes on a few days at one of the Gulf Coast beaches, or maybe even a week exploring the beautiful city of Asheville, N.C., en route to the Outer Banks.

Yes, the possibilities of fall travel are endless. And with cheaper airfare, the time is now to book a flight.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at