HOUSTON — Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of the summer travel season. And while it's probably too late to make plans and get a deal for this weekend, there are still ways to save on trips down the road.
We got a clear glimpse of how the pandemic impacted travel. Flights were dirt cheap and so were gas prices.
Fast forward to the spring 2022 and things are heading in the opposite direction.
“Everyone is trying to make up for lost time.” Willis Orlando, with Scott's Cheap Flights, said.
Summer travel is making a huge come back with July expected to be the month with the highest passenger volume.
At Bush Airport, they're seeing big crowds and more people looking for a tropical getaway.
“We are seeing strong demand for Mexico and the Caribbean seeing demand surpass what we saw pre-pandemic,” Augusto Bernal, director of communications and public relations for Houston Airports System, said.
The number of passengers and the prices they're paying have both risen dramatically since last year, even if experts say they're still about 8 to 10 percent below 2019 numbers.
Orlando with Scott's Cheap Flights breaks down their summer travel forecast.
“Domestic is pricier and more international is a little bit cheaper depending on where you're going,” Orlando said.
And that's exactly what we heard from this couple trying to get from Houston to Montana.
“It was $200, $300 before and now it's $700, $800. It's crazy,” Cameron Lee, a traveler, said. “Too much money fuel prices are outrageous.”
And that was for one passenger on a one-way flight. But Orlando says there are still deals to be found. You just have to be flexible, plan ahead and be ready to search for them.
“If you have yet to plan your trip, best thing I can tell you is be as flexible as possible,” Orlando said. “People are headed to the beaches are headed to Miami. Go against the grain -- Houston to Denver, consider going up to the Northeast. Everybody and their mother's trying to get themselves to Paris."
According to Scott's Cheap Flights, while others are planning early summer trips, you should look to book further out.
"We were not sticker shocked we are flying JetBlue from Boston to Houston for my son's wedding," Nicole Fortin, a traveler, said.
The key for her was booking three months in advance.
And if you just think airports are way too crowded and prices are too high, hold off on those travel plans and look even further out for this fall or even next spring.
Once people get those bucket list trips out of the way, the demand is expected to level off.