Inflation threatens summer vacation plans for millions of Americans

Rising inflation threatens travel plans for millions of Americans as strong demand for travel and vacations drives prices up.

On Saturday, gasoline hit a new all-time high of $4.45, and the start of the summer season is just weeks away.

Earlier this week, federal inflation data showed airfares are up 33 percent from a year ago, rising 18.6 percent from March to April alone, the fastest increase since records began in 1963.

Analysts at travel comparison firm Hopper estimate that domestic round-trip flights now average $330, compared to $235 at the start of 2022.

On Saturday, gasoline hit a new all-time high of $4.45, and the start of the peak summer travel season is just weeks away

Hopper predicts that prices will rise at least 10 percent to $360 by the end of May and will continue to do so through June.

And prices for kids’ summer camps will be 10 to 15 percent higher than a year ago amid strong demand, estimates Tom Rosenberg, president and CEO of the American Camp Association.

“Camps are in extremely high demand as parents desperately want their children to be able to go out into nature with their peers and away from tech devices after two years of social distancing,” he told CNN Business.

Still, rising costs aren’t stopping summer vacations, and about 85% of Americans expect to travel this summer, according to the US Travel Association.

Expedia CEO Peter Kern told Bloomberg that he expects the summer of 2022 to be “the busiest travel season ever.”

Airlines, hotels, car rental companies and booking sites have all reported sharp increases in demand for their services in the latest corporate earnings series.

But at the same time. many of those companies face a tight labor market and limited volume as they rush to restart and expand operations after more than two years of reduced demand due to the pandemic.

Earlier this week, federal inflation data showed that airfares are up 33 percent from a year ago, and by 18.6 percent from March to April alone.

Earlier this week, federal inflation data showed that airfares are up 33 percent from a year ago, and by 18.6 percent from March to April alone.

Prices for kids' summer camps will be 10 to 15 percent higher than a year ago amid strong demand, an industry group predicts

Prices for kids’ summer camps will be 10 to 15 percent higher than a year ago amid strong demand, an industry group predicts

A customer pumps gasoline at an Exxon gas station, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami

A customer pumps gasoline at an Exxon gas station, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami

Tripadvisor said travelers should expect inflation to affect all areas of travel purchases by 2022, and booking now rather than later could mean better prices.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc plans to continue to reprice hotel rooms “every minute of the day” to mitigate the impact of inflation on its business, CEO Christopher Nassetta told investors on Tuesday.

“As demand has increased, we have certainly succeeded and we expect to continue to do so,” he said during the company’s earnings call.

Hilton’s average daily rates in the United States were 36.4 percent higher in the first quarter of 2022 than in the same period in 2021.

According to the hotel market data provider STR, the average daily rates charged by hotel companies in the US increased by about 37.7 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

Flight prices are also rising this summer, according to the travel search engine Skyscanner.

Return flights within the US cost an average of $302 per traveler, which is 3 percent higher in the same period before the pandemic.

International long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights are up to 20 percent higher than in 2019, costing an average of $797 and $1182 respectively.

Other segments within the travel industry face supply constraints and labor shortages as leisure and business travelers return.

Tripadvisor said travelers should expect inflation to affect all areas of travel purchases by 2022, and booking now or later could mean you lock in better prices

Tripadvisor said travelers should expect inflation to affect all areas of travel purchases by 2022, and booking now or later could mean you lock in better prices

Rental car company Hertz Global Holdings reported that it averaged about 481,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, compared to a pre-pandemic level of about 700,000 vehicles.

“There’s no doubt that as demand gets even higher in the summer season, you’ll see even more stress,” said Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr, adding that the vehicle range available is limited and must be managed very carefully.

Staffing issues have also marred operations at airlines such as Alaska Airlines and JetBlue in recent weeks, forcing them to cut summer schedules to avoid further disruption.

Hopper, the travel booking app, said domestic airlines will currently use 75 to 95 percent of their summer capacity in 2019 from May through August.

According to a statement from the agency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to host recruitment events in an effort to increase its workforce ahead of projected summer travel and return to pre-pandemic passenger volumes.

The TSA said in March that the return of passenger traffic (fiscal year) 2019 would return in (fiscal year) 2022, a year earlier than previously forecast, and an increase in staffing will ensure that the traveling public does not experience excessive wait times. †

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