If you’re planning a trip this spring and summer, you’re not alone. More Americans plan to take an international trip this summer than at any time since 2019, according to the latest surveys. Over one-third of U.S. travelers say they’re comfortable flying abroad, a number that is likely to go up over the next few weeks.
International travel is not the only type of trip Americans have planned this year, there is an increasing interest in domestic trips as well.
The Outlook for Travel in 2022
Concerns over COVID continue to retreat, while Americans’ strong excitement for travel just keeps on going up.
- 87.6% have current trip plans.
- The months of May, June, and July show 2-point increases in the percent of Americans reporting trip plans in them since last month.
- 81.0% of American travelers report strong excitement for their travel this year and 86.2% are in a ready-to-travel state of mind.
- 71.8% of Americans did some trip dreaming and planning in the last week.
- A record-high 57.9% feel we are closer to normal in the U.S.
- Americans perceived impact of COVID on their ability to have meaningful travel experiences is at a record low (35.9%).
- Avoidance of conventions and conferences reached a record low (40.9%).
As the weather around the country is becoming increasingly better, kids are finishing up the school year, and parents are looking forward to their vacations, travel plans are being made at record numbers.
The question however remains for many hopeful travelers across the country: “how can my family and I go on an affordable vacation?”
Despite rising costs in virtually every aspect of our daily lives since the beginning of the pandemic, there is one method of traveling that is more affordable than before the pandemic.
Traveling by airplane is currently cheaper than other forms of transportation
This means that if you’re one of those millions of Americans who are looking forward to a vacation this spring and summer, your best bet will be to fly to your destination.
Right now, for February 2022, airfare prices average $222. That’s less than the $265 average from February 2019 prior to the beginning of the pandemic.
Airline fares are currently very competitive, this gives consumers a great opportunity to take advantage of fair prices that soon may not be as attractive. Since airlines generally buy jet fuel in bulk and months in advance, spikes in fuel prices haven’t necessarily impacted plane tickets on a massive scale yet.
Scott Keyes from Scott’s Cheap Flights tweeted a very informative graph yesterday showing that while airline ticket prices have risen over 10% in the last month, they are still at historically low prices.
This however may not be the case for much longer, which is why travelers who are interested in a vacation this year should book now. Staffing and pilot shortages will likely be increasing airfare ticket prices past the current surge we’re seeing.
Rising Gas Prices and Car Rental Shortages
Rising gas prices aren’t the only reason why traveling by air is more economical than driving, the soaring costs of renting a car have become unsustainable for many Americans.
A short supply of rental cars is the main culprit for high rental rates this summer. According to the latest consumer index, car rental rates have gone up 39% since the same time pre-pandemic.
For Americans who are conscious of their wallet that simply means that flying has become their best bet for an affordable vacation this year.
Key points to take away from this:
- Book your airfare early.
- Consider flying out of a smaller airport near your departure city to get an even better deal on your airfare.
- Also, consider flying to a smaller airport near your destination.
- Be aware of your airlines’ refund policies.
- Obtain travel insurance that covers trip cancellations, even for Covid-related reasons
Summer will undoubtedly be a chaotic time for travelers in the U.S. regardless of the method of transportation. The best bet for you is if you’re flying, buy tickets early and give yourself enough time between layovers and book flights that aren’t right back to back, especially if you’re traveling with children.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories