Travel agencies

Travel agencies see an increase in the number of travelers despite inflation

LENEXA, Kan. – Along with just about everything else, inflation affects the travel industry. From airfare to hotel and rental prices, Deahne Anderson with Sea trips says travelers can expect to pay 20-30% more for the same vacation.

Due to rising fuel costs, Anderson is seeing more and more families switching to single-destination road trips. Rising food prices are also impacting overall traveler spending. Additionally, prices for all-inclusive resorts are rising.

Even still, families are looking for alternative options, without giving up on their vacation altogether. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson says the number of new travel-ready customers at his agency is up nearly 40% from 2019.

Along with being locked down for two years, it may be due to travelers worrying about navigating ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re definitely seeing a sticker clash, but that’s not deterring anyone from traveling,” Anderson said. “They’re ready to go out, and if it costs more, it costs more, basically.”

Anderson says just a month ago, 76% of Americans didn’t want international travel due to pandemic restrictions. But that restriction was lifted on Sunday, allowing easier travel even amid rising prices.

“We are already seeing people wanting to switch from domestic trips that they had already planned and booked to international trips now that the requirement has diminished,” Anderson said.

Charles Cleveland, a husband and father of three, says he and his wife wanted to take the kids to Disneyland, but instead opted for a cheaper destination they could drive to.

“Getting on a plane, hotel rooms, we might have to get a rental, food prices…everything has gone up, so to keep it down, we like to go to places like Branson – places more close,” Cleveland said. “When you used to put $30 in your tank, you have to put 45 to 50 now.”

Meanwhile, Esmeralda Olmedo has made the difficult decision to postpone her family trip to California.

“We normally fly, but we were planning to do a road trip. So, you know, it cancels out because of the gas,” Olmedo said.

Anderson says there’s technically no “best time” to travel because prices often change from hour to hour. However, here are some tips to consider when planning a vacation:

  • Be flexible with location, travel dates and length of stay
  • Choose historically cheaper destinations like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and cities with many flight routes like Las Vegas
  • Wait for the off-season like May, September and October to travel

When booking flights, Anderson says a good rule to follow is to always book flights with long airtimes.

“People hate long connection times, and I’m here to say please book at least with a three hour connection. If there’s a delay or cancellation, you have a chance of getting that connecting flight,” Anderson said.