Matadors struggle to pay for holiday vacations as airfare prices increase

Melody Cherchian

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Holiday traveling seems to be diminishing among CSUN students this semester as hotel rooms and plane tickets rise in price.

Marie Montgomery, spokesperson for AAA, said travel prices generally tend to be much higher during the holidays because there is a lot more demand for airline seats, hotel rooms and car rentals, especially if travelers wait until last minute to book their plans.

“There are some exceptions if you are willing to be flexible,” Montgomery said. “For example, flights on Christmas Day might be cheaper. But for the most part, travelers will pay more during the holidays and possibly much more if they wait until the last minute to book their travel.”

An article in USA Today reported that travelers this holiday season can expect to pay 8 percent more than they did last year for airfare and will encounter a 27 percent increase if they leave the weekends between the holidays.

Hotel rates are also rising in top destinations, including New York and Los Angeles. The average daily room rate in Los Angeles for Christmas is 10 percent higher than last year, according to USA Today.

“Average cost for airfare and hotel, of course, will really vary depending on your destination, the type of accommodations you want and when exactly you want to go,” Montgomery said.

In fact, holiday tickets this year are expected to cost around $500 or more just from Los Angeles to New York, according to orbitz.com. Hotel prices in New York average around $600 a night for the week of Christmas.

Itzel Cahuantzi, 19, a sophomore at CSUN majoring in criminology, said she had no plans to travel during winter break because she could not afford losing hours at work.

“I need to pick up even more hours at work now that school is almost over,” said Cahuantzi. “I need to save money for next semester’s tuition.”

Monica Guzman, 22, a junior communications major, said she is planning on staying in town because it costs too much to travel.

“If I had the money, I would go to New York’s Times Square for New Year’s eve,” said Guzman. “But plane tickets and hotels cost way too much.”

Imagine the cost of a trip home to Japan for Yasue Takana, 25, a senior CTVA major. Takana hoped to visit her family back in Japan, but she said it is too expensive.

“I have no choice but to stay here,” said Takana. “The ideal way to celebrate the holidays would be at home back in Japan.”

The price to stay in a Japanese hotel is an average $200 a night on Dec. 24, not to mention the $2000 per person it would cost to fly there in the first place, as reported on expedia.com.

Despite an increase in prices during the week of Dec. 23, AAA expects a 3.1 percent increase in travelers this year compared to a year ago. According to AAA, 92.3 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home by car or air sometime during between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.

“Most Southern Californians tend to travel during the holidays for one of two reasons,” Montgomery said. “One is to visit distant relatives and friends, and the second is going with family and friends to destinations they didn’t have time to go to during work and school.”

Some local places Southern Californians tend to visit during the holidays include: Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Grand Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, Big Bear, Arrowhead and Mammoth, among others.

“If you want to go somewhere for the holidays but you’re not really sure where or if you can actually get a last-minute bargain, visit a travel agent,” she said.