Travel is rapidly heading back to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Various countries, especially European nations, have dropped all travel restrictions—including proof of vaccination requirements.
But there’s one issue: everyone is looking to travel again after two years of deprivation. On the travel website Kayak, Domestic travel searches have increased by 78% compared to last year and international flight searches are up by 140%.
And, as a result, flights, hotel rooms, and other types of accommodation have become significantly more expensive.
After all, travel companies have had two years of utter nightmares—and they’re now making up for it on the balance sheet.
So what should travelers do to avoid high prices? Read on to find out!
Airline prices are surging globally; this is a mixture of rising gas prices, rising inflation, increasing demand, and airlines looking for a financial rebound after two years of travel restrictions.
The average price of a round-trip ticket in the U.S. has increased by 41% in the last 12 months—with an 11% increase compared to pre-COVID prices.
Delta Airlines president, Glen Hauenstein, acknowledged the increasing air costs, stating the airline has no issue selling flight tickets at the newly inflated prices.
However, Glen Hauenstein said: “If you’re looking for lower fares, you have to be flexible in terms of which days you’d be willing to fly,”
In addition, travelers should aim to book early. We suggest avoiding the temptation of waiting for cheaper flight deals as your trip comes closer. Local Massachusetts travel agent, Doreen Coakley Rodriguez, said “flight prices are changing overnight, so people that came in yesterday and are coming in today, it’s moving and moving fast,”
Expedia also recommends travelers use the ‘free cancellation’ filters when searching for flights. They added travelers should avoid buying saver fares or restrictive basic economy tickets.
Moreover, Expedia says travelers should aim to fly on weekdays over weekends to avoid holidays and save cash. You can also try bundle deals, such as flights, hotels, and car rentals in one, to save a few dollars.
If you’re looking to travel in the summer months, ticket prices are 10% cheaper in August than in June and July. It’s still possible to find affordable round trip deals, for under $350, to the following popular destinations:
- San Antonio
- Austin Providence
- Myrtle Beach
Hotels are witnessing the first major rebound since the pandemic began. And in popular destinations for Americans—such as Cancun—hotels are almost entirely booked for the summer.
As a result, Cancun is likely to return to pre-pandemic travel levels in 2022; that’s great for local businesses, but not always great for travelers like you. Cancun hotel rates are up by 48% and Hawaii has the fastest-growing average daily hotel rates in the United States.
Data released by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism suggested visitors from the Western states spent $227 per day. That’s a 44.7% increase from early-2021.
So what can you do?
First, try to avoid staying in resorts. According to former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and founder and CEO of investment group Starwood Capital, Barry Sternlicht, resorts are charging whatever they want.
He added: “Resort hotels … are full and charging whatever they want. The consumers coming out of the slowdown aren’t price-sensitive. It’s a very unusual recovery, and people can charge whatever they want,”
Instead of resorts, choose hotels, hostels, and AirBnBs
Second, avoid very popular destinations, such as Cancun. For many Americans—Cancun is the dream destination. However, there are many excellent destinations in Mexico, such as:
- Playa Del Carmen
- Isla Mujeres
- Cabo San Lucas
Hotel rooms are more affordable and available in these destinations.
Third, use price comparison sites. Although you won’t always find the best deals on price comparison sites, they provide excellent opportunities for travelers.
The top comparison sites include Lastminute.com* and Hotwire; these sites only give you a star level and destination for the hotel. You only find the hotel’s name once you book—resulting in bargain prices for travelers.
Travelers just need to be a little bit savvier this year to find incredible deals. Of course, they also need to stay away from uber-touristy destinations—such as Cancun and Hawaii—if they want rock bottom prices. 2022 will be an expensive year for travelers due to the pandemic and rising fuel prices, but that shouldn’t stop people from traveling.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com