Protect Your Cash, Buy Travel Now

17 February 2022
Protect Your Cash, Buy Travel Now
Animated gif with cash, tickets and a lock

Fears over Omicron are fading as mask mandates and testing requirements are going away. Everyone is relieved to see more people traveling again. It marks a return to some version of normal after nearly two years of living a pandemic lifestyle. 

The world is finally (yes, really this time) opening up to travelers again.

Travel and tourism in the US is predicted to outpace pre-pandemic levels this year, according to an economic modeling report by the World Travel and Tourism Council and Oxford Economics.

The caveat?

The strong recovery predictions depend on two things:

1 continued steady vaccine rollout, and
2 the lifting of international travel restrictions.

Both of which could make for a more pleasant travel experience. It will also increase travel demand.

The not-so-great news is that travel deals aren’t likely to last and the pent-up demand will play a role in rising travel prices. People who have been staying close to home are now double- or triple-vaxxed and ready to go.

Here’s why you should book all your travel now – ahead of any rate hikes – to lock in prices and protect your travel cash.

Airfare is shockingly cheap for many locations

Your flight for a summer getaway could cost less than it did before the pandemic. Airline fares are 18 percent lower when compared to 2019 levels (according to Airlines for America). 

The travel app Hopper’s Consumer Airfare Index says domestic airfare will rise 7% monthly through June, reaching 2019 levels by April 2022. The sharp rise is contributed by higher demand for seats and jet fuel prices.

So, booking your ticket now will lock in today’s cheaper prices.

Tip: See the flight booking mistakes even experienced travelers make.

International travel is still a bargain

International travel hasn’t recovered yet, and there are still plenty of cheap flights and hotels for popular spring and summer destinations like Paris, London, and Brisbane.

Travel experts like Jack and Scott have a lot to say about how to find cheap flights right now:

And no, I don’t make any money by sharing those links. They’re travel writers I follow because they have great tips to share.

Cheap hotel rates are harder to find

Hotel rates are a mixed bag right now. Overall, the prices for hotels in the US are up 13% over 2019 prices. 

Many hotels were able to pivot during the pandemic and cater to road travelers, staycationers, and remote workers. The pandemic and labor shortages also sped up the adoption of automation in hotels, making keyless check-in, digital staff communication, and even robot room service the new norms.

While the price for some hotel rooms in the US is pacing above the national inflation rate, it’s not universal. Popular spring break destinations like Mexico and Florida are expensive, but you can still get deals if you’re willing to travel to places where rates are still depressed, like New York and San Francisco.

Tip: Hotels have gotten a little more restrictive about cancellations. As long as you book a cancellable room, you should be OK if you get sick or need to change your travel dates.

Rental cars are still pricey and hard to find

This time last year, rental vehicles were scarce and overpriced and it’s not looking any better in 2022. If you’re traveling this year, try to reserve a car as early as possible and check for alternatives.

Travel search engine Kayak recently added search results for car-sharing sites like Turo and Kyte.

Tip: If you’re looking to go electric with your rental, you’re better off trying the car-share sites.

Other interesting news

Speedier boarding process – Delta is testing out the idea of free checked bags to reduce carry-ons. Anyone else having flashbacks?

International travel with kids? Here’s how one parent has done 14 transatlantic flights with small humans and says you can too.

Fully vaccinated and craving a northern escape? It’s finally getting easier to travel to Canada.

Disney is changing their mask policies. Fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear face covers indoors or out.

Want to wake up to fresh croissants? France is no longer requiring pre-departure testing for vaccinated and boosted travelers

Not again! Rude and disruptive passengers continue to plague the airline industry.