Rising gas, flight prices are forcing travelers to rethink summer vacations

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Sara Jensen was hoping to get to Germany to visit family this August, her first trip there since 2019, but she nixed the international excursion as flight prices climbed.

Also off the list this summer is a trip from Sacramento to the Midwest to visit friends. As average gas prices hover under $6 per gallon in California, a few other road trips might be on the chopping block, too.

“Two of the trips we planned we won’t be doing,” Jensen said. “We were talking about doing a road trip with our kids, and I don’t even know that it’s going to be cost-effective.”

After the delta variant cooled off “hot vax summer” last year and the omicron surge put holiday travel on ice, many Americans were clinging to the idea of returning to a normal vacation season — or what’s known as “revenge travel.” Instead, pent-up demand for travel, high gas prices and inflation has created the perfect storm.

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That has led many travelers to reassess their itineraries, whether it means canceling that overseas trip (again) or trading it for more modest domestic tours.

Michelle Shainess, who runs the outdoor travel blog Almost There Adventures, anticipated going abroad again this summer. When she looked at flights to Europe from her home in Minneapolis, they ranged from $1,000 to $1,500 each, an untenable price for her family of five. Now the Shainesses are trading their European vacation for domestic flights and road trips to national parks. To save on gas, they will rent hybrid cars using the peer-to-peer rental car app Turo.

This summer, the family is mapping out visits to several parks in Washington state, including Olympic, Mount Rainier, North Cascades and San Juan Island. The parks lend themselves to trips that…

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