Minnesotans’ pent-up demand to travel this summer runs headlong into higher costs

 Minnesotans’ pent-up demand to travel this summer runs headlong into higher costs

People with a strong urge to get out of their pandemic bubbles are pushing for a surge in demand for travel this summer. But they face a huge sticker shock.

The average cost of a domestic plane ticket is 30% higher compared to the same time in 2019, according to industry observers. Travelers will also pay – sometimes more – to rent a car, stay in a hotel or fill their fuel tank, even if road trips are more expensive.

However, it appears that many are unafraid, leading the travel industry to prepare for a banner summer season similar to the seasons before the pandemic.

“Recording numbers are expected at parks, theme parks and airports,” said Pauline Frommer, co-president of FrommerMedia and editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks. “After being stuck at home and having all the uncertainty in their lives, people want to celebrate life and see their families living far away.”

Costs may go up but the economy is strong and people are working again, Frommer said. “Even with inflation, people know they have money to go in. They may have very little to eat out while on vacation and still picnicking. They may not go to every attraction. They may cut.

Fortunately for Tristan Klausegger, 37, of Minneapolis, he booked flights to Orlando and California earlier this year before the ticket price went up. He will also make roadtrips closer to home, such as the North Shore, as he did in the first two years of the pandemic. Next year he could rebook the trip to Tokyo which he canceled in 2020.

Even when costs are rising, Klausegger says travel is his long -held passion: “That’s why I’m always looking for a way to get there by saving money.”

Strong pull travel

According to statistics compiled by Hopper, a travel app, domestic airfares this summer rose 34% compared to 2019 – the result of higher jet fuel prices and demand beyond aircraft capacity.

The average cost of staying in a hotel, according to Hopper, increased 36% compared to 2019. Car rental prices continued to rise after car companies reduced their hosts early in the pandemic and struggled. to rebuild it in the face of supply chain problems.

For those driving, the AAA reports that the national average on gas has risen by more than $ 1.30 per gallon from last year.

“People decide mostly that they’re ready to go back there, even compared to a few months ago,” said Kyle Potter, executive editor of the Minnesota -based Thrifty Traveler website.

Over the past two years, he has seen travel explosions put on a high pandemic. But this summer is expected to be the most rapid growth since before the pandemic, and could even exceed the numbers seen in normal seasons, he said.

People not only have the desire to go somewhere, their options are wider because COVID-19 bans are weakened and sometimes lost. There is no longer a need for masks on planes in the U.S. and many countries no longer need to be vaccinated for people to test negative for COVID before entering, according to Potter.

The United States, however, is still making it a long -term decision to travel internationally, he said.

“If you get positive, then you’re in a week or two on your own penny,” Potter added.

While that may prevent some from traveling abroad, some gamble that U.S. authorities will eventually drop the test requirement for vaccinated people, according to Potter.

If demand disappears, Linda Snyder, vice president of travel services and retail for AAA Minneapolis, expects demand for international travel to rise further.

“COVID is still a concern for many,” he said. “But a lot of people say ‘I’ve been vaccinated. I’ve been boosted.’ … People say ‘I’m going now. Somewhere.’ “

Many book “bucket list” trips-to Europe and sea and river cruises, with some cash credits for trips they canceled in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Long family trips and wedding destinations will return.

“The [higher] Costs don’t scare people, “Snyder said.” People want to spend on experiences. “

The demand for flying is increasing

However, some travelers may get sticker shock when they look at the cost of a flight, especially compared to artificially low prices when plane travel falls early in the pandemic, according to Potter. .

“Domestic flights are pretty expensive this summer – as expensive as I’ve seen in at least five years,” Potter said.

But there are deals when people can be flexible about where and when they go, he said. He and his wife want to rebook a trip to London that they will have to cancel in 2020 but can’t justify prices this year. They will fly to Turkey instead.

Once people book their flights, they can expect full planes. That means that when there are problems like bad weather cancellations, it can be difficult to find vacant seats on other flights.

Last year, several plane crashes occurred when a cascade of flight delays and cancellations left people stranded.

Brian Davis, chief marketing officer at Sun Country Airlines, said the industry is doing its best to rebuild after it was forced by the pandemic of capacity reduction.

“Instead of multiple trips over several days to select customers, there may be limited options,” he said.

The planes, he said, are making changes to better prepare for the demand. Sun Country, for example, canceled its flights to Hawaii this summer because long-haul flights use more fuel and require more crew than shorter trips.

“Cutting off those that aren’t on schedule has helped us free up crew, aircraft and resources, putting us in a stronger position to operate and complete other flights on schedule,” Davis said. “But we may not be able to fly enough flights to get everything we need.”

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