Here’s how much they can expect to pay in airfare
Nelson Garcia’s love for Halloween began when he was a kid and has only grown since then.
When he was young, his family would go to the dollar store and buy all the goodies to decorate their front yard with, like purple string lights and fake ghosts and spiderwebs. Every time Halloween rolled around, he remembers getting excited to dress up in costume and do all the traditional activities like carving pumpkins and watching classic Halloween movies. “Those memories bring me a lot of joy,” he told USA TODAY.
As an adult, he started to take his love one step further – quite literally, as in, he and his siblings now travel for the holiday, a new tradition that came about a few years ago. “Growing up in South Florida, we don’t really experience fall weather, so we try to go somewhere with cooler weather to get the full Halloween experience,” he said.
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Each year, they try to pick a new location, such as New York and Atlanta. This year, it’s Massachusetts: “One of my best friends just moved to Boston, so it felt like an obvious choice this year, especially with Salem being so close.” He and his brother plan to fly from Florida to Boston, attend a Halloween party, and then go to Salem and do a tour.
As always, the brothers are “going to go all out for Halloween” and even hired a makeup artist to take their costumes to the next level. Typically, the brothers pick a theme for their costumes – they’ve dressed up as Greek gods, characters from God of War, White Walkers from Game of Thrones – and this year, they’re going to be X-Men.
Trick-or-treat or travel
Garcia is hardly alone in traveling for the spooky holiday. A new survey by ValuePenguin, an online resource for personal finance, asked 1,600 Americans about their fall plans, and 84% of people said they plan to celebrate Halloween this year. Four in 10 respondents said they want to travel for their All Hallows Eve celebrations, and about the same number of people have said they done this in the past.
Those with children under the age of 18 and millennials were the demographics most likely to have Halloween travel plans, according to the survey.
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Garcia seems to be on the money when it comes to the most coveted Halloween destinations – most people want to visit Salem, Massachusetts; Sleepy Hollow, New York; New Orleans and Savannah for the spooky day. These cities have a rich and arguably haunted history. Millennials said they were also interested in going to Vegas for Halloween events and parties.
Part of the urge to travel for the spooky holiday may be because many people missed out on summer plans, ValuePenguin said. An earlier survey by ValuePenguin found that over half of Americans didn’t have any vacation plans this past summer, although this past summer was hectic when it came to travel.
A hefty price tag for Hallows Eve
This year, Halloween is coming at a higher cost, as inflation increases the price of event tickets, costumes and more, the National Retail Foundation found. There’s no exception when it comes to travel either. People said they expect to dish out an average of $504 for their Hallows Eve trip, according to ValuePenguin, and parents with younger kids said they think they will pay more.
“The average person doesn’t have a ton of wiggle room in their budget, so a $500 expense is no joke,” said Matt Schulz, a LendingTree chief credit analyst. “It’s something that needs to be budgeted for and prioritized if you want to avoid taking on debt because of it.”
“A good budget is also about priorities, and everyone’s priorities are different,” Schulz said. “Some like to travel, some like to dine out, some love shopping and others get really passionate about Halloween. Whatever your passion, take the time to make room for it in your budget. That may require some sacrifice around this time of year, but that’s OK.”
He also said you can fill your itinerary with low-cost activities and get creative (which is in the spirit of Halloween anyway) to keep costs down.
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The majority of survey respondents who want to travel for Halloween said they will drive to their final destination, with the second most common form of transportation being by plane. This year, domestic airfare prices over Halloween weekend, from Oct. 28 to 31, will cost $224 on average, Hopper told USA TODAY. This is a 25% increase from 2021 prices. For international airfare, prices are $817 on average, which is a 39% increase from 2021.
Knowing they wanted to go big for Halloween, the Garcia brothers started planning their trip in April. When budgeting, they took into account the costs of the costumes, air travel and activities like the Salem tour.
“We set a dollar amount that everyone is comfortable with and then save a little each month,” Garcia said, adding that they bought their flights “far in advance” so they were “pretty affordable.” Now he can just enjoy the tricks and treats of Halloween.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Halloween travel: Expect a 25% increase in US airfare prices from 2021