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Why Americans should prepare for higher travel costs

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It’s about inflation and demand.

Key points

  • Many Americans are eager to travel after the wave of omicron.
  • If you have big travel plans, stretch your budget and be prepared to spend more.

The summer of 2021 was largely hailed as the summer of revenge rides, at least until the delta variant outbreak derailed people’s plans. The surge forced many people to rethink their itineraries and stay closer to home.

But at this stage of the pandemic, things look different. Not only has the most recent surge in omicron subsided fairly quickly, as health experts expected, but even the CDC is telling Americans they can change their approach to the pandemic and take off their masks if the circumstances are right.

All of this could lead to an increase in travel come summer. So if you’re itching to get out, it’s worth starting saving now.

Travel costs could go up

Anytime a product or service is in high demand, its price has the potential to go up. That could be the case this summer if pent-up demand explodes and American consumers book flights and hotel rooms left and right.

The Hopper booking app estimates that the cost of domestic airfare will rise 7% per month through June. Meanwhile, we don’t know what gas prices will be like for the summer. But right now, they are at all-time highs. And since gas prices tend to rise during the summer, it’s fair to say that road travel may not be a cost-effective alternative to flying.

Then you have to think about inflation. The cost of everyday goods and services has skyrocketed since mid-2021, and if that trend continues, businesses from theme parks to restaurants could raise prices, making their plans cost more than usual.

How to prepare for higher travel costs

Your next trips will most likely cost more than you expected, so it’s a good bet to save up now for future trips. If you know you’re looking for a getaway in July, cut your spending now and build your savings account so you can cover your costs without racking up debt. Getting an extra side hustle to increase your income works too, if your circumstances allow.

Also, consider booking summer travel now, before airfare and hotel costs rise even higher. The tricky part is that you have to pay for your trip months in advance, leaving you little time to build up your savings. But if you already have savings to tap into, or can cover your reservations with your paycheck, it’s worth pricing lower.

Finally, make sure you use the correct credit card when booking your trip. If you use a travel rewards credit card to book a flight, you can take advantage of money-saving benefits like free checked bags.

The cost of travel is very likely to go up this year, especially during the peak of summer. By preparing ahead of time, you can move forward with your plans without incurring a ton of debt.

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