Record-breaking Memorial Day weekend fuels soaring travel costs

As the summer holiday season approaches, airports across the country are preparing for a flood of passengers.

According to recently released numbers from AAA, Memorial Day The weekend is expected to be one of the busiest ever, with more than 42 million Americans expected to take to the skies, an 11 percent increase over last year.

However, after moving home to Atlanta from Salt Lake City, Utah, the couple discovers that airfare costs are skyrocketing, so Kelsey Elizondo and Isaiah Wright dream of a budget-friendly pre-Memorial Day vacation. turned into an expensive trip for

“It’s outrageous how expensive it is to fly now. It’s crazy. We traveled a lot before kids and we felt like we could go anywhere on a budget,” Elizondo said.

Traveling with their two young children this year has doubled their flight expenses.

In April, air fares saw a significant increase of 2.7 percent from March. While that’s down slightly from last summer, it’s about 10 percent higher than before the pandemic, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Not only are flights more expensive, hotels have also seen price increases, up 3.5 percent from last year and up 15 percent since 2019.

However, there is a silver lining for travelers opting for road trips, as car rentals are expected to be cheaper this summer, down 11% from last year, but still on par with four years ago. 51% higher than the competition.

According to Sally French, who tracks vacation inflation for NerdWallet, a personal finance website, increased travel demand has driven up prices.

“So people should expect to pay more for their travel than they have in the last couple of years,” warned French.

In an effort to save money, 35% of travelers surveyed by NerdWallet chose to drive instead of fly, taking advantage of gas prices that averaged less than a dollar last year.

“I didn’t think gas would be that much of an issue, but I spent about a thousand bucks, and we didn’t go over 2,000 miles, it’s crazy,” said Jacob Rash, who filled up his RV. at Buc-ee’s in Georgia for $2.85 per gallon.

Expenditure on various holiday activities has also seen an increase. Eating away from home is up nearly 9% from last year and 24% from 2019. Additionally, movies and concerts now cost about 7% more than last year, putting more pressure on holiday budgets.

With all these rising costs, travelers find themselves spending much more than they initially anticipated. “What we ended up thinking we were going to spend compared to what we actually spent is crazy,” Kelsey Elizondo shared her experience.

As the summer holiday season begins, commuters should prepare for longer-than-usual rush hours, especially from Thursday afternoon. Other peak times are expected Monday afternoon and early Tuesday evening, according to AAA.

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