Thanksgiving travelers faced major price hurdles this holiday.
Decades-high inflation, coupled with a continued travel rebound stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, is leading to higher prices for just about everything travel-related, including airfare, hotels and gas. Inflation cooled slightly in October, but still hit 7.7%.
AS THANKSGIVING TRAVEL PRICES FORCE AMERICANS TO STAY HOME OR BREAK THE BANK, PEOPLE IN NEW JERSEY SOUND OFF
The average price for a domestic round-trip flight the week of Thanksgiving was $468 if it was booked in early November, with prices only increasing as the month went on, according to Kayak. That marks a 48% increase from 2021. And another headache: United Airlines expects the holiday will be its busiest period since the beginning of the pandemic.
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Things don’t get better once travelers reach their destinations, either. The average hotel stay for Thanksgiving costs $173 per night as of early November — a 14% increase from last year, according to Hopper.
Car rental prices, at least, had a small drop compared to last year — down to $84 a day for Thanksgiving, reflecting a 1% drop from 2021 when demand far outpaced supply, according to Priceline. But that price is still 62% more than what a rental car cost before the pandemic.
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Most travelers, though, are expected to travel by car, with AAA predicting that nearly 49 million will hit the road.
Gas prices have increased slightly since last year. A regular gallon costs $3.64 on average Tuesday — up about 24 cents compared to 2021, but down significantly from the summer peak of $5, according to AAA.
Overall, AAA predicts there will be nearly 55 million travelers this Thanksgiving — nearly 98% of the pre-pandemic volume, and the third busiest since 2000 when the group started tracking the data.