Summer is coming to an end – and with it the peak travel season. For many people, the off-season is now the beginning of a more attractive holiday season, as previously the following applies: travel is cheaper in autumn, winter and spring than in the main season. But anyone who has been looking forward to inexpensive holiday offers for autumn these days will quickly have noticed that, contrary to expectations, travel prices are not really falling. Flying remains expensive, traveling by train remains expensive – and so does the package holiday. Are the days of savings holidays over?
First, let's take a look at aviation. Here, the Federal Statistical Office registered a price increase of almost 25 percent for international flights from Germany in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, meaning European flights have become 32 percent more expensive. And there is a simple explanation for the higher prices: the general conditions for the airlines have changed. Enormous demand is met with a shortage of staff, stricter taxes and rising kerosene prices.
The once common and highly sought-after cheap flight prices of 9.99 euros within Europe are now hardly sustainable for airlines like Ryanair or Eurowings, at least not without paying extra. This becomes clear at the latest when you break down the fees that such a flight ticket includes. Before an airline earns a single cent, passengers pay the fees for security checks at the airport and the air traffic tax of 12.73 euros per passenger with their flight price.
But it's not just flying that's becoming more and more expensive, we also have to shell out more money to travel by train. If you don't want to spend time traveling with the Deutschlandticket or are heading to destinations abroad for your train trip, you will pay more for seat reservations with Deutsche Bahn since the timetable change in June 2023. Compared to package tours, this is only a small drawback. The Federal Statistical Office indicates a price increase of 10.2 percent in the first half of 2023.
The trend is clear – vacations are becoming more expensive. Carlo Speth from the online travel provider “Urlaubspiraten” also confirms this in a current press release: “With a few exceptions, the price level will unfortunately not change, especially in times of increased demand such as the autumn holidays.” The expert expects catch-up effects from the summer, particularly for package tours, and a significant increase in bookings, especially for flights to the south.
Matthias Firgo, tourism economist at Munich University of Applied Sciences, also observes a similar effect. In an interview with MDR, he said: "My forecast for the winter and the coming summer season would be that price increases will decline, but not the price level." In plain language, this means: Prices remain high, but are not rising any further for the time being. The only exception: air travel. Increasing awareness of emissions could lead to further price increases.
This makes cheap air travel less common, but by no means impossible. In this case, the most important thing is the right travel planning - and perhaps a little flexibility, as Friederike Burge, travel expert for the flight booking platform "Skyscanner", explains in a statement: "To enjoy the last rays of sunshine, holidaymakers don't always have to go deep into the sky Grab your bag. If you are a bit flexible and know how to search and compare, you can get great bargains in October and November."
In this case, being flexible means determining the travel period based on flight prices, being open to departure airports that are not directly close to your home and sometimes considering travel destinations that are not on everyone's bucket list. Because lower demand is often associated with lower prices. For this fall, Burge recommends the following travel destinations: Bari (Italy), Sardinia (Italy), Corfu (Greece), Seville (Spain) - they can all be reached by plane from Germany for less than 100 euros.
Getting there cheaply is only half the battle. Since package holidays have risen in price overall, it is currently particularly worthwhile to organize and book travel and accommodation yourself. If you find a cheap flight or train, you still need accommodation that is affordable. And they still exist all over Europe. "There are still cheap offers in Denmark, Poland and Spain for autumn. But destinations in France and Italy are also represented in the top 50 of the cheapest destinations for a short-term vacation in a holiday home in September," says Jonas Upmann, spokesman and Travel expert from “HomeToGo”, opposite the star.
When it comes to package holidays, travel expert Speth from Urlaubspiraten advises booking as early as possible. In particular, underestimated travel destinations within Europe can still be traveled cheaply. For some countries, however, that could soon change, as Speth is quoted in the statement: "Albania is becoming increasingly relevant as an up-and-coming holiday destination with dream beaches, beautiful mountains and an attractive price level. From Memmingen, travelers can fly to the capital Tirana for less than 50 euros. " Still. Because prices could soon rise here too.
The bitter truth is: traveling is becoming more expensive. Nevertheless, very few people miss out on their well-deserved vacation. Even in times of inflation and war, surveys show again and again that we are drawn further away, no matter the cost. In the end, the only question is how to get the most out of your vacation budget. And if you plan early, are flexible and remain open to new travel destinations, you have a good chance of finding a worthwhile bargain even this off-season - even in a place that you hadn't even considered before.
Sources: Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry, Federal Statistical Office,