Travelers may need to adjust their summer vacation plans to account for the higher cost of airfare, hotel rooms, and short-term rentals.
One family acknowledged they had to make sacrifices to ensure their trip stayed on course.
Dallas-area resident Stephanie Hanrahan’s family of four was planning a trip to Disney World in Florida for her daughter’s birthday this year but concluded that the increased costs compared to their trip to California last year were too burdensome to justify the whole family tagging along.
To ensure her daughter’s birthday trip to Disney World went off without a hitch, Hanrahan’s husband and son agreed to stay behind.
“We just had to grit our teeth,” Hanrahan told WFAA as she and her daughter waited at Dallas Love Field for their flight to Florida.
Despite individuals like Hanrahan and others admitting to making certain travel adjustments, volume through U.S. airports is expected to surpass pandemic-era highs over Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a recent news release.
TSA was expected to screen approximately 2.6 million passengers Friday and up to 10 million travelers over the entire holiday weekend, marking a roughly 14% increase compared to Memorial Day weekend in 2022.
“I don’t have the hubris to tell you exactly how the summer is going to go, but we have prepared, and we have a robust plan for it,” said Andrew Watterson, chief operating officer at Southwest, WFAA reported.
That sentiment was also shared by David Seymour, the chief operating officer of American Airlines.
“It’s going to be a solid summer for us,” Seymour said.
Although the industry has a strong travel forecast through the end of summer, Anna Zhou, an economist for Bank of America, suggested that consumers are being more conscious of their budgets this year.
“Travel remains a bright spot relative to other sectors, but we’re also seeing signs of moderation in the travel space,” said Zhou, according to WFAA.
Airfare is not the only component of travel that has gone up in price in 2023. Hotel rooms and short-term rentals (STRs) have also gotten more expensive.
The daily rate for short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo in April was up 1.4% from a year ago, with an average price of $315.70, according to AirDNA.
The average rate for a U.S. hotel room for the week ending on May 20 averaged $158.53 a night, a roughly 3.6% increase compared to the same period last year, according to hotel data provider STR.
Ultimately, getting to one’s travel destination by driving may be the most cost-effective decision for some. The national average for a gallon of regular was $3.576 on Wednesday, May 31, down from $4.622 the same day last year, per AAA.