Summer travel rush begins as gas, hotel and plane ticket prices rise

“Know before you go” was a phrase used at the height of the pandemic two years ago, as travelers were urged to double-check their accommodations and public transport options before setting off on a trip away from home.

Although many pandemic restrictions and rules have since eased, travelers over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and beyond would still be well advised to check things out.

This time, however, you should be prepared for significantly higher prices, especially for gasoline, hotel rooms and plane tickets, and for the returning crowds.

“We’re paying for pent-up demand,” said Jean Gagnon of Latham’s Plaza Travel. Plane or hotel reservations for this weekend, she said, were already made by people months ago. And now, travelers who want to go somewhere on Labor Day, at the end of summer, should make their plans. “The flights are full,” she said.

“It’s a very tumultuous situation,” remarked Bob Provost, president and CEO of the New York State Tourism Industry Association.

Granted, New York tourism/travel metrics haven’t topped pre-pandemic numbers. But the decline of previous years has been reduced by more than half.

“The pace of recovery for the entire state has accelerated,” said Provost, a former Times Union marketing executive.

Statewide, the numbers are skewed because of New York. Ranked in the world’s top 10 attractions, the city still struggles with staff shortages in restaurants and hotels and a lack of international travellers.

Ready to spend?

No matter where you go, be prepared to pay more to get to your destination and sleep there.

According to the national AAA, even the lowest airfares are up 6% from a year ago, while mid-range hotels are up 43%.

Car rental costs have increased by 170% and, of course, gasoline has increased by 51%.

Nationally, a gallon of regular gasoline sold for an average of $3.03 a year ago, down from $4.60 this week, according to AAA.

In New York this week, gasoline averaged $4.93 a gallon, with Capital Region prices averaging $4.88 and New York prices averaging $5.05.

Airfares are skyrocketing.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, air fares jumped 33% year over year.

From March to April of this year alone, they rose 18.6%, the biggest jump ever recorded in a month.

“Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it’s going to be on fire. People are late for a vacation and they’re looking to catch up in the coming months,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president at AAA.
Overall, AAA predicts that 39.2 million Americans will walk at least 50 miles from home this weekend, an increase of 8% from last year.

One group that will not be caught up, however, are visitors from overseas.

Provost noted that continued COVID testing requirements for international flights to the United States, as well as unrest in Europe resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have seriously hampered overseas tourism in the United States. United and will probably continue all summer.

Additionally, harsh COVID shutdowns, a struggling economy and strained relations with the United States have led to a decline in visitors from China, which was until recently a growing source of tourism revenue in the states. , especially in New York.

Even Canadians are hesitant to return just yet, said Gina Mintzer, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Queen of America’s Lakes and the Adirondacks have long been popular travel spots for Canadian vacationers.

“It’s not like the floodgates of Canadian visitors have returned,” Mintzer said, explaining that there were fewer than average Quebec and Ontario visitors to Lake George over the three-day holiday holiday. Victoria last week.

“There is still some trepidation,” she said.

Lake George, however, will get extra help with restaurants, hotels and other village attractions.

After a pandemic hiatus, foreign students are “back in full force,” Mintzer said.

Some 900 students with J1 educational/cultural visas from countries as diverse as Turkey, Jamaica and the Philippines will work there this summer.

And as they did during the height of the pandemic, proponents of Lake George and the upstate in general are quick to point out that many upstate tourist spots are just a short drive away. a few hours from the downstate area and New York.

“We’re only a tank away from here,” Mintzer said.

[email protected] 518 454 5758 @RickKarlinTU