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Why Are Travel Expenses Breaking the Bank?

If you recently booked a flight for one of the numerous post-quarantine weddings or even a much-needed vacation, you probably noticed travel expenses are outrageous. Please take me back to primetime quarantine when flights were 30 bucks. My travel budget would be grateful.

Back when trips to Italy were cheaper than a meal at Olive Garden …

And our jet-setting dreams were actually within reach.

Travel prices are out of their slump.

Those prices are long gone. If you’ve only browsed flights for fun, you know the airlines are making up for lost time. But it’s not just airlines: Hotels, rental car companies, gas stations and even restaurants hiked up the dollar signs. 

For summer 2021, the Hopper app forecasts a good domestic roundtrip rate to hover around $283, up 35% from summer 2020. International flights will stay around $755. And CNBC reported hotel rates in Cancun were averaging $205/night in May, which is way up from $45 last year. Even if you find a cheaper flight and hotel, rental car companies are experiencing car shortages, so that rental could break the bank.

When Iceland became a travel hotspot

Is international travel is completely out of the budget? Well, flash sales still exist. In March, Iceland reopened to vaccinated travelers, and thousands of antsy quarantiners said, “Watch this.” According to Hopper, the country saw a 93% increase in searches, and a roundtrip flight from the U.S. dropped 21%. So, to get the deal of a lifetime, you have to be a little bit lucky and a little bit obsessed with following the price trends. Or you could follow a travel guru like Scott Keyes, who suggests you pick your destination and dates based on prices using Google Flights or Momondo. 

Are these prices the new normal?

Will we see travel expenses settle down? June through August is the peak summer travel time, so inevitably, almost nothing will be a steal this season. Another factor is prices still are mostly less than 2019 because business and international travel aren’t fully back to normal. So, we’ll see how the prices average out once the dust settles. Until then, try to be wise with your travel budget. Those deals won’t find themselves.

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