Strong Demand for Summer Vacations

Persistent inflation and higher interest rates have put a strain on many households, causing consumers to be cautious about certain expenses like home improvement projects and apparel. However, despite these challenges, millions of U.S. consumers are not willing to give up on their vacations.

  • A recent survey conducted by Deloitte revealed that 50% of respondents planned to take a vacation involving paid lodging during the summer, marking an increase from 46% the previous year.
  • This strong demand is further supported by the Transportation Security Administration's screening of close to 10 million people over the Memorial Day weekend, slightly exceeding the numbers from the same period in 2019 before the pandemic.
  • Additionally, American Airlines raised its adjusted earnings forecast for the current quarter, citing robust demand and lower fuel costs as contributing factors.

When it comes to booking airline tickets or filling up their tanks for road trips, many travelers are experiencing some relief in terms of prices, at least in comparison to last year. According to the latest federal inflation data, airline ticket prices decreased by 0.9% in April compared to the previous year.

Travel Categories Outshine Others in Consumer Spending

Despite an overall moderation in consumer spending, travel categories continue to show resilience. Jason Gaughan, the head of consumer credit card products at Bank of America, noted that travel categories are among the strongest performers.

  • However, the prices travelers encounter can vary significantly depending on their chosen destinations. For domestic flights, the average round-trip cost is $306 this summer, representing a 19% decrease from last year but still 6% higher than in 2019, according to travel site Hopper.
  • Shortages of aircraft and pilots have led to capacity constraints, affecting airline growth and keeping fares elevated for an extended period.
  • Lodging costs have also risen this year, even within the United States. Hotel occupancy averaged 60.6% from January through April, with average nightly rates of $152.68. This represents an increase from 63% occupancy and average nightly rates of $130.05 during the same period in 2019, and an increase from 58.4% occupancy and average rates of $141 per night last year.

Business Travels Lags Behind

However, there are significant differences in hotel rates among various destinations due to shifting travel patterns.

  • For instance, nightly hotel rates in Maui, Hawaii, have surged by more than 53% since 2019 to reach $535.90, marking the highest percentage increase in the United States.
  • On the other hand, hotel rates in the San Jose and Santa Cruz areas of California have experienced a nearly 17% decrease from 2019, now averaging $171.52 per night, as business travel in the tech and other sectors has yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels.


Please note that this article does not constitute investment advice in any form. This article is not a research report and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security or financial product does not guarantee future returns. Investors have to conduct their own research before conducting any transaction. There is always the risk of losing parts or all of your money when you invest in securities or other financial products. Please note that the writer of this article is not registered as a financial advisor.


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash.