Travelers are spending more than $9,300 on average on their trips for summer 2023, according to U.S. travel marketplace Squaremouth.com. This is a 6.8 percent higher trip average than last year, making this the most expensive summer for travel to date.
These numbers were drawn from Squaremouth analyzing data from thousands of travel insurance policies purchased for trips this summer to make this conclusion.
Factors That Have Contributed to the Increase in Travel Costs This Summer
Inflation is the main culprit for rising trip prices this summer. According to Jen Moyse, Vice President of Product at TripIt, a recent survey by the travel organizing app revealed that 79 percent of respondents stated inflation has affected their travel planning for the upcoming year.
Moyse went on to say, “However, despite the extra cost, only 18 percent of respondents said that inflation has caused them to plan fewer or different types of trips.”
Higher-end tour operators are echoing this sentiment. Jeremy Clubb, the founder of Rainforest Cruises, which is an exotic riverboat and small ship cruises provider, says his company has seen record summer sales, despite the increased costs. “Although it has to be said our target market is more high-end consumers who are less susceptible to rising travel costs,” Clubb said.
This demand for travel and willingness to pay higher rates is also causing the prices to skyrocket, according to Kristi Kincaid, owner and travel agent of Curated Travels. She also added, “People are paying the prices, so I don’t see it letting up any time soon.”
How the Increased Prices Are Affecting the Travel Industry
While some sectors of the travel industry seem to be immune to the increased costs, others are feeling the effects.
“Here in New Orleans, our company saw our sales numbers take a pretty significant nosedive compared to 2022 and pre-pandemic years,” said Leonard Crist, owner of Gators & Ghosts New Orleans Tours.
Some companies are also passing on the increased costs in less obvious ways to customers.
“We’re seeing more companies tack on fuel surcharges, and more companies are passing credit card fees onto guests,” Crist said.
Bobby Mikulas, CEO and Co-Founder of Kinship Landing in Colorado Springs, says their property is seeing fewer last-minute bookings than anticipated and less on-site spending for this summer.
Travel agents are also steering clients away from certain destinations due to their prices being substantially higher. Kincaid says, “Europe is pricing very high this year because of flight prices and hotels.” Kincaid is advising that clients save Europe for a different year and is instead pointing them to more affordable destinations in South America, as well as domestic destinations, such as Alaska, this summer.
Where People Are Going This Summer
While European destinations are seeing some of the highest price increases, this isn’t stopping travelers from flocking to the continent.
According to Squaremouth, 8 of the 10 most popular international destinations this summer are European countries, with Italy taking the No. 1 spot for the second summer in a row.
Top 10 International Summer Destinations for 2023 Squaremouth.com
% Of Sales
-United Kingdom 5.42%
According to TripIt itinerary information, Moyse says that Orlando, along with Denver, Seattle, San Diego, and Anchorage, are among the top spots for travelers within the U.S. this summer.
Ways Travelers Can Cut Down on Costs
Fortunately, there are still ways to cut costs on summer vacation travel plans, and travel experts have many suggestions.
“Choosing to travel on non-peak days is a classic, but continues to be a great way to save money,” Mikulas said. “Arriving on Monday and checking out on Thursday would save you hundreds of dollars at our property, as an example.”
Another way to cut down on costs is to travel to destinations where summer is actually the off-season. Christopher Falvey, co-founder of Ghost Tour New Orleans, says New Orleans experiences lower prices in the summer because February-April is its peak season.
When it comes to checking prices for accommodations or flights, Clubb recommends travelers not rely solely on comparison websites, “Check prices directly on providers’ websites, as they often offer the best deals there.” Clubb also suggests using a VPN when traveling to browse flight prices in different currencies, as this can help you make the most of airlines’ pricing inconsistencies.
High travel prices do not mean travelers have to stay home this summer. However, they do need to be more flexible on dates, locations, and the activities they choose to do.