High gas prices and rampant inflation have changed the way many Americans have viewed travel this summer, but a recent survey found that the average cost of a trip is actually down overall compared to the pandemic years and pre-pandemic.
Travel insurtech company Squaremouth.com found that the average trip cost through early July was about $5,300, down from an average of $5,800 in 2020 and $6,000 in 2019. The data also showed that domestic travel costs more than international holidays for the second year running.
The study found that the average cost of a domestic trip was roughly $500 more than an international trip, with travelers under 50 spending about $400 more per trip compared to 2019.
“While there has been some relief in terms of pricing, I have noticed some continued hesitancy to book due to fuel prices and airfares,” said travel agent John Maddox. “Airfare is the number 1 deterrent holding back the all-inclusive resort business. It is also forcing customers to book shorter cruises. People are not so ready to book even in 2023 because of the uncertainty about the current economic situation.”
Additional data from InsureMyTrip found that travelers are paying less for a vacation in some of the most popular destinations, with the average cost of travel for Week 1 and Week 28 of 2022 in the United States dropping from $4,066 for $4,042.
In Mexico, the average trip cost dropped from $3,809 to $3,631, while vacations in the Bahamas dropped from $3,754 to $3,284.
While travel costs seem to be moving in the right direction, prices are still higher than last year and before the pandemic. In 2022, the average cost was about $5,051, up from $4,405 in 2021 and $4,767 in 2019.
“I am very pleased that both airline and cruise prices continue to become more affordable,” said cruise specialist Scott Lara.
A report from Mastercard also indicated that “runaway inflation” was damaging the spending habits of lower-income customers, including travel purchases. The data showed that cardholders are shifting their priorities from big-ticket items to essentials and groceries.
Mastercard reported the strongest summer travel season since the start of the pandemic, thanks to reduced demand and the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions. Cross-border volumes also jumped 58 percent on a local currency basis in the second quarter, increasing dollar volumes on the company’s network by 14 percent to $2.1 trillion.
“In the US, what you’re seeing is a declining trend in terms of growth rates on the lower income side of things,” said Mastercard Chief Financial Officer Sachin Mehra.
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