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Inflation causing travelers to rethink holiday plans

A new survey from Bankrate looks at how Americans plan to travel more cheaply this year.
Travelers check their flights at Miami International Airport, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Story at a glance

  • Holiday travelers are planning to be more frugal this year, according to a recent Bankrate survey.  

  • The survey found that almost 80 percent of Americans are changing their holiday travel plans because of increasing prices and inflation.  

  • People are thinking about traveling for fewer days, less often and staying closer to home in order to save money.  

Americans set on traveling for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years are planning shorter holidays due to inflation.  

A recent Bankrate survey of 2,455 adults found that 43 percent are planning to travel for an upcoming holiday while 79 percent are changing their plans this year due to rising prices stemming from inflation.  

The percentage of respondents who are planning to adjust their holiday travel plans due to cost runs high across household incomes, according to the survey.  

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But the largest percentage of travelers who will pinch pennies while traveling this year make less than $50,000 a year, at 86 percent, followed by those with salaries that fall somewhere between $50,000 and just under $80,000, at 79 percent. 

Millennials are the travelers most concerned about how inflation will hurt their wallet.  

According to the report, 40 percent of millennial holiday travelers said their budgets will be strained this year, nine percentage points more than the number of Gen Xers who think they will have to tighten their belts to make up for holiday travel expenses.  

Meanwhile, only 28 percent of Gen Zers and 23 percent of boomers worry that travel will strain their budgets.  

About a quarter of respondents said they are opting for less expensive destinations. Traveling for fewer days and choosing cheaper activities while on holiday are some other ways to cut costs, according to the report.  

Just under a quarter said they will travel shorter distances, use reward points or miles on their tickets and drive instead of flying for the holidays.  

“Travel costs have surged, so it’s important to plan ahead and factor these expenses into your overall holiday budget,” says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst for Bankrate.  

The latest Consumer Price Index data shows airline ticket prices have increased by 25 percent between August of 2021 to August of this year and that gasoline prices have jumped by almost 26 percent.  

Meanwhile, the price of lodging has only gone up by 1 percent.  

Rossman suggests that travelers book airplane and hotel reservations earlier than prior years since demand will most likely outpace supply.  

“This summer, air travel was particularly messy as consumers unleashed pent-up demand and the industry couldn’t keep pace.”