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Pent-up travel demand meets inflation. Here's what a new survey found out about how travelers plan to deal with higher prices.

Almost seven out of 10 U.S. adults are making changes to their summer vacation plans due high inflation levels, according to a recent survey by Bankrate. Taking fewer trips and traveling to closer locations are the biggest changes planned, each recording 25 percent of the responses. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they would be seeking out cheaper activities and 22 percent said they would adapt by selecting less expensive accommodations or destinations. 

Bankrate Survey Results

Amid rising travel prices, the “staycation” trend is growing, with 28 percent of those traveling this summer planning a vacation within their home country or in the boundaries of their residence. Other than the high interest in staycations, the most common vacation destinations are beaches at 37 percent and cities at 27 percent. National parks, campgrounds, and amusement parks all followed closely behind, in that order. The least popular travel options reported were, unsurprisingly, international travel at 12 percent and cruises at 11 percent.

Aside from those who are thinking of making modifications to their summer travel plans, many have refrained from the thought of vacationing altogether. The most common reason mentioned by those canceling summer plans was that they cannot afford it — a solid 48 percent of respondents. Amongst different generations, Gen Xers were a stand out, with 58 percent listing high prices as the strongest blockade to summer travel.

Survey Results

After cost concerns, 27 percent of respondents said they were simply not currently interested in vacations, and 20 percent listed Covid as their number one reason to stay away from summer travel. Health or age complications, family obligations, and vacation plans for another time were all on the list before being unable to take time off work clocked in at 10 percent.

While paid time off is a benefit that most employees are entitled to, only 33 percent of U.S. workers said they plan to use all of that time in 2022, which is a seven percentage point drop from pre-pandemic numbers, according to a March 2019 Bankrate survey. Only 18 percent plan to use about half of their vacation time and 30 percent said they’ll use less than half of their paid time off.

Despite these numbers, experts are still confident in the steadfast persistence of travel demand this summer. 

“I suspect pent-up demand will win out over higher prices,” said Bankrate’s senior industry analyst Ted Rossman. “Americans have been spending aggressively despite high inflation and downbeat consumer sentiment statistics. After being cooped up for a couple of years because of Covid, I think people are ready to get back out there this summer, even if it means paying higher prices and potentially cutting into their savings or taking on debt.”

There’s been a shift from spending on goods to spending on services, said Rossman. Airlines, hotels, bars and restaurants are all reporting strong demand, reflected by recent reports on an influx of booking rates observed by travel booking sites.


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Tags: fuel prices, inflation, oil prices, staycation, summer, summer travel, survey data, travel, vacations

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