According to US International Air Travel Statistics, the number of international flights to the United States increased by approximately 97% year-on-year from April 2021 to April 2022. Airbnb data from May 2022 also showed an all-time high in long-stay bookings, with US travelers attracting Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas, as well as domestic beach destinations.
If you’re not planning a trip this year, hearing about other people’s vacations might give you a whiff of FOMO: fear of missing out. But don’t let comparisons lure you into panicking and booking a trip that could throw your finances upside down. Even with time and budget constraints, it’s possible to have a fun-filled summer.
HOW CAN PEOPLE AFFORD THAT?
For many travelers, this summer is an opportunity to travel for the first time in two years, and the anticipation makes it worth the cost. Some may even be willing to break the bank or go into debt to get the vacation of their dreams.
“That’s some catching up to do,” says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. “People have saved a lot of money over the past two years and can afford the price increases.”
For many, the shift to remote work has also made travel more accessible. Yaslynn Rivera, a Los Angeles-based executive assistant at a video streaming company, is making the most of remote work by taking advantage of opportunities she otherwise would not have had before COVID-19.
“I have friends from childhood and from college who now live across the country,” she said. “If I go somewhere, it’s because I know someone there,” she added, explaining her almost constant location changes. She stays with friends instead of booking hotel rooms and Airbnbs, and when she books a room, she sticks to a tight budget.
“I don’t mind that I’m uncomfortable with the experience,” she says, pointing to motel rooms, red-eye flights, and working remotely.
Though some travelers can afford luxury travel this summer, travelers like Rivera are making the most of the opportunities and connections they have, even if it means sacrificing convenience. If you work remotely and have a flexible schedule, trying Rivera’s approach could be a great way to extend your summer with more travel.
THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Despite the reality, social media can still make travel look like a Pinterest-worthy paradise.
“You’re definitely afraid of missing out,” says Giacomo Moriondo, a Chicago-based customer service manager at an airline services company, referring to friends posting from scenic destinations. “I am jealous; I would like the freedom to visit my family in Italy and Argentina, but it is not financially possible for me this summer.”
Moriondo has been feeling the pressure to travel this summer, but with an office job, limited free time and fares outside of budget, his options are limited.
“When you see people booking lavish vacations, you can’t compare,” notes Rivera. “They could be from a wealthy family or be on a sponsored trip; they are not on the same playing field.”
Consider cutting down on your social media consumption if such posts upset you. Or if you’re curious, ask consistent travelers how they make their trips happen. People can be refreshingly honest about their circumstances, and the answers might surprise you.
THE ADVANTAGES OF STAYING AT HOME
US travelers are flocking to vacation destinations in record numbers, but this summer may not be the best time to take the trip you’ve been waiting for.
“I personally think this is a bad year to travel,” says Hobica. With airfares soaring, travel industry strikes and fare hikes across all categories, traveling abroad — especially with kids — can be more hassle than it’s worth.
If you resist the temptation to join the travel rush this summer, you can take advantage of the milder weather and crowds in the fall or even next year.
“I would wait for things to settle down,” says Hobica. “Too many people travel and there are not enough workers to support them; Getting where you want to go is not reliable at the moment.”
If you don’t have a trip planned this summer, plan adventures close to home in the meantime.
“I make myself a tourist in my own city,” says Moriondo. “It doesn’t feel like you’re missing out by doing something yourself.”
Exploring your own city or state, visiting family and friends inland, and finding inexpensive outdoor experiences can enrich your summer and satisfy your travel hunger without breaking the bank.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. Dalia Ramirez is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com.
NerdWallet: 10 Simple Tricks to Save Money on Travel https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-saving-money-on-travel-tricks
Airbnb: Summer 2022 Release Highlights https://news.airbnb.com/airbnb-2022-summer-release-highlights/