Consumers keep traveling despite recession fears and inflation

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Francesco Riccardo Iacamino | moments | Getty Images

Persistent inflation and high interest rates have affected many household budgets, and consumers are shying away from some Purchase As if Home improvement projects or apparel. But millions of American consumers aren’t giving up their vacations.

A Deloitte survey last month found that 50% of respondents plan to take a vacation that includes paid accommodation during the summer, up from 46% last year. In a sign of strong demand, the Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 10 million people over Memorial Day weekend. A little more Compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. And American Airlines This week increased its adjusted earnings forecast for the quarter due to strong demand and cheap fuel.

Many passengers are seeing some relief on booking airline tickets or booking tickets fill up Tank before the road trip, at least compared to last year.

Airline ticket prices, for example, were down 0.9% in April from a year earlier, according to the latest federal read inflation,

Read more of CNBC’s coverage on inflation

And yet, consumer spending has started to ease overall, but “the categories that are strongest are the travel categories,” said Jason Gaughan, head of consumer credit card products at Bank of America.

location is everything

Prices vary wildly depending on where travelers are planning to go. According to travel site Hopper, a round-trip domestic flight this summer costs an average of $306, down 19% from last year, though still up 6% from 2019.

capacity constraints A shortage of planes and pilots has hit airline growth and caused fares to rise for months.

International travel has picked up again this year as countries around the world lift pandemic restrictions. But there is still considerable demand for domestic destinations that dominated travel during the pandemic. This is especially true as airlines have increased capacity to Europe and other international destinations, but bargaining is tough Peak to find during the late spring and summer months.

Hooper data shows airfare to Europe averaged $1,167 round trip this summer, up 36% from last year.

Lodging has also been more expensive this year, even as US hotel stays jumped an average of 60.6% from January to April, with an average rate per night of $152.68, according to hotel data firm STR. This is up from 63% occupancy and an average nightly rate of $130.05 during the same period in 2019, and up from 58.4% occupancy and an average nightly rate of $141 last year.

But there are huge differences between some destinations due to changing travel patterns. According to STR, nightly hotel rates for Maui, Hawaii are up more than 53% since 2019 to $535.90, the largest percentage increase in the US. Meanwhile, hotel rates in California’s San Jose and Santa Cruz areas are down about 17% from 2019 to $171.52 as business travel in tech and other sectors still hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels.

money saving strategies

Consumers looking to save money on travel need to be flexible. Travel experts suggest booking outside traditional peak periods, such as during the shoulder season in the fall, although there are trade-offs, such as the potential for inclement weather.

Kobe Guerrero, a Caribbean travel specialist at Raleigh, North Carolina-based agency Trip & Sip Travel, said some customers can find cheaper rates and fares booking for the northern Caribbean in September or October, but it comes with risks.

“But then you can have a hurricane that ruins your entire vacation,” Guerrero said. She said she would require buyers to obtain travel insurance.

Some travelers are also trying to prepare by booking well in advance.

“Luxury resorts are being booked two years in advance,” Guerrero said.

Others are leaving to spend elsewhere to pay for the trips.

Parvez Virani, IT Project Manager, he and his wife said, Zoha Karmali, a property manager, used American Airlines frequent flyer miles to fly to New York City over Memorial Day weekend, but she saved money by returning on Wednesday instead of at the end of the weekend.

Virani said the couple had been cooking dinner at home with their 10-year-old Yorkie, Jordan, ahead of their trip to avoid eating out.

“We are cutting costs at home,” he said.