Cheap travel is finally arriving after a pricey summer



With record gas prices and skyrocketing airfares, it was the traditionally busy summer travel season a budget breaker.

However, with the arrival of the slower travel season – known as mid-season – relief is on the way as children return to school. However, travelers should still expect to pay more than in recent years.

Even if larger price declines are to be expected in autumn, the overheated summer prices are already beginning to cool down.

The national average for gasoline a gallon was $4.21 on Monday, down 14 cents from a week ago and down 63 cents from a month ago AAA. That’s still more than $1 a gallon more than a year ago.

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After months of increases, consumer price data showed airfares fell 1.8 percent month-on-month and room rates fell 3.3 percent in June, according to the US Travel Association’s Travel Prices index.

In a price calculation forecast Travel-booking app Hopper, released on Monday, said the domestic air fare would fall to an average of $286 round-trip this month, down 25 percent from the peak fare in May.

A drop from summer to fall is normal, but it’s not that big of a drop, said Hopper’s lead economist Hayley Berg.

“Normally we would see maybe a 10 to 15 percent drop in price,” she said. “And it really has more to do with how prices have been this summer and less to do with what’s going on this fall.”

Airfares rose more than expected in May and June, she said, thanks to rising jet fuel prices, high demand and limited capacity.

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Hopper said Monday there’s good news for hotel guests, too: The average cost of a night’s stay has fallen slightly from a peak of $199 in mid-June to $185 now. The company expects hotel prices to fall further this month before picking up again in September and October.

Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of the Atmosphere Research Group, said a slowing economy will usually prompt travel companies — cruise lines, hotels, airlines, rental car companies — to slash prices when demand falls. However, he warned that travelers should not count on pre-pandemic prices.

“Unless the economy bottoms out, which doesn’t appear to be the case right now, I don’t think travel prices will drop to levels below 2019 levels or earlier, at least within the US,” he said.

He said if the dollar stays strong versus the euro, holidaymakers in Europe may be paying relatively less for hotels, food and entertainment than in 2019.

Should you fly or drive this summer? That’s how you decide.

Scott Keyes, Founder of scott’s cheap flights, recommends traveling in late summer or early fall, also for reasons beyond the lower prices. The travel chaos from earlier this summer, for example, will likely be less of an issue with fewer crowds.

“That’s simply because there’s a lot less stress on the system in the fall,” he said.

Keyes said the weather in the northern hemisphere is still generally good in September and October (although hurricane season could throw off plans) and the experience of exploring new places or revisiting favorites can be more enjoyable.

“The number of other tourists drops to a fraction because of the academic calendar, so you’ll have a lot more air to breathe, a lot less competition when it comes to not just airfare but hotels, car rentals and activities,” he said.


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