Travel prices rise: How to save on flights, hotels and petrol

More than two years after the pandemic, holidaymakers are making travel plans with renewed zeal. But due to a number of economic, organizational and geographical issues, the summer trip will come on a steep, painful price this year.

Crowds increase demand as travel companies continue to address labor shortages. Fuel prices set a record and have fallen slightly. The shortage of rental cars is persistent. And inflation is coming down on all parts of the travel budget.

“You’re going to have some sticky shock,” warned travel expert Henry Harteveldt, president of the Atmosphere Research Group.

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Sally French, an expert on travel awards at NerdWallet, has been analyzing the impact of inflation on common travel costs – including rental cars, hotels, food and entertainment such as movies and concerts.

“Of course, every single category is more expensive now than it was at that time last year,” she said.

Here is a breakdown of where travel costs stand, what people should expect when planning summer trips and how it could save a few bucks.

Flights: An increase of 12.7 percent from February 2021

According to information on the consumer price index published by the Directorate of Labor, air fares increased by 12.7 per cent in February compared to the previous year, but decreased by more than 14 per cent compared to 2019.

“People have short-term memories,” said French. “They just remember ‘Last year I got this great flight deal.’

In early April, the travel booking program Hopper said that domestic air fares averaged $ 330 for round-trip travel, which is 40 percent higher than at the beginning of the year. For foreign travel, the average was $ 810, up from $ 650 at the beginning of the year.

The company expects prices to continue to rise and predicts that domestic air fares will reach $ 360 by May. International airfares are expected to peak at $ 940 in June.

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Hayley Berg, head of price information at Hopper – which uses data other than the Directorate of Labor – said that its calculations show that domestic air fares are even higher than pandemic figures: increased from 2019 by 7 percent.

Harteveldt said several factors are pushing up prices this year, including high demand, higher jet fuel prices and cutting performance.

“Airlines have been very clear that they do not only intend to raise prices, but take other measures to help them recover most of the higher energy prices they are paying,” he said.

Budget advice: Harteveldt said that new low-cost airlines such as Breeze Airways or Avelo Airlines could provide lower fares than their competitors if their routes matched the needs of travelers. He suggested looking for deals that combine airfare and package accommodation, which could lower the total price of the trip. For those who have the flexibility to travel, it is possible to postpone a summer trip to a cheaper one in the early autumn.

Berg said that tourists might also want to choose low-cost international travel, choosing Mexico or Central America over Europe to save hundreds of dollars.

“If tourists are willing to reconsider their destinations, they can spend less than they have in recent summers, even though the price is higher,” she said.

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Hotels: 40 percent increase from March 2021

Travel research firm STR said the average price of a daily hotel in the United States between March 1 and 26 was $ 147.15. It is significantly higher than at the same time last year, when the average price was almost $ 105, and higher than in 2019, when the average overnight stay was $ 132.56.

Carter Wilson, head of STR’s consulting division, said last summer had already been a record. He said labor shortages and higher wages were also pushing up interest rates this year.

“What kind of destinations that usually meet the demand for leisure did great last summer,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then.

Budget advice: Wilson said higher prices will not be evenly distributed, especially as business trips take longer to recover.

“If you are looking for accommodation in a large city market in a hotel in a conference center, it is more reasonable to find a room than a place to stay,” he said. “These urban centers, which rely on international demand and major agreements and trade demand, are still trying to make inroads.

Harteveldt said that tourists are better off shopping directly on hotel brand websites rather than price comparison sites because that is where they will find discounts for things like membership of AAA.

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Airbnb and Vrbo: 13 percent increase from February 2021

Short-term rentals also have higher prices, according to AirDNA, which monitors the performance of millions of assets on Airbnb and Vrbo. The company said that the average daily fee in the US in February was almost $ 273, which is 13 percent higher than last year and 32 percent from 2019. At the end of March, AirDNA said that summer prices so far were 5.5 percent higher than last year.

Budget advice: French recommends that people use a kitchen or kitchenette so they can get food in the grocery store and avoid eating at a restaurant before every meal.

Taxis: An increase of 19 percent from March 2021

In mid-March, Hopper said rental cars averaged $ 83 a day, up 19 percent from the same period in 2021. Viewers in the industry expect demand to rise – and prices to follow – this summer.

“The current situation is that car rental companies will charge even higher prices simply because supply has not met demand,” Mike Taylor, head of travel and hospitality at JD Power, told The Washington Post last month.

Budget advice: Given the cost of renting cars and gasoline, French said she could avoid traveling this year. She suggested flying to a destination with good public transportation instead. But if someone has to own a rental car, she and other experts recommend looking for it first to avoid unwelcome unexpected happenings regarding price or availability.

“Book the rental car first because it will be the most surprising part of your trip,” she said.

How to save money on travel when gas prices rise

Gasoline: 45 percent increase from April 2021

According to AAA, the national average price per liter of standard lead-free was just over $ 4.16 on Wednesday, compared to about $ 2.87 a year ago. Prices have fallen in recent weeks after reaching record highs in March, but gas is still a potentially large part of summer travel budgets.

Budget advice: Pedestrians should take advantage of applications like GasBuddy or tools like Waze and Google Maps that can find cheaper gasoline. Costco members can also purchase the chain’s fuel at a discount.

The Washington Post reported on other ways that travelers can save on travel despite high fuel prices here.

Sailing: Not sailing at this time last year

The world’s largest cruise line companies have said they will see strong prices – in some cases higher than 2019 – in the second half of 2022. US cruises were not even sailing at that time a year ago; they started returning last summer after ceasing operations for more than a year due to the pandemic.

David Crooks, vice president of product travel and operations at cruise ship World Travel Holdings, said in an email that cruise ship prices this year and next still look like a good deal due to “significant increases in land options.

“With the CDC lifting its travel health promotion for cruises, strong demand and strict health rules for cruise ships as well as low prices, consumers are recognizing the value of cruises and demand is coming in very strong,” he said.

Budget advice: Booking in the fall instead of summer days at its peak in the Caribbean will save money (but will also mean going on a cruise in the historically busiest part of the hurricane season). A seven-day cruise across the East Caribbean Sea on a new Carnival ship, for example, costs $ 1,169 per person for a cool room when it departs on July 10. When the ship embarks on the same itinerary on September 24, the balcony room will cost $ 839 per person.

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