Travel agencies seeing uptick in travelers despite inflation

LENEXA, Kan. — With just about anything else, inflation is affecting the travel industry. From…

LENEXA, Kan. — With just about anything else, inflation is affecting the travel industry. From airfare to hotel and rental prices, Deahne Anderson with Seaphire Travel says travelers can expect to pay 20-30% more for the same vacation.

Because of the rise in fuel costs, Anderson is seeing more families pivot from road trips to single destinations. The rise in food costs is also impacting travelers’ overall spending money. Plus, prices of all-inclusive resorts are going up.

Even still, families are looking for alternative options, not forgoing their vacation altogether. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson says the number of new clients ready to travel at her agency is up by nearly 40% compared to 2019.

On top of being cooped up for two years, this may be due to travelers being worried about navigating COVID-19 restrictions that are ever-changing.

“We’re definitely seeing some sticker shock, but it’s not deterring anyone from traveling,” Anderson said. “They are ready to get out, and if it costs more, it costs more, basically.”

Anderson says just a month ago, 76% of Americans did not want international travel because of pandemic restrictions. But that restriction lifted on Sunday, allowing easier travel even amid rising prices.

“We’re already seeing people who are wanting to pivot from domestic trips that they already had planned and booked to now going international now that the requirement has dropped,” Anderson said.

Charles Cleveland, a husband and father of three, says he and his wife wanted to take the kids to Disneyland but instead opted-in on a cheaper destination they can drive to.

“Getting on an airplane, the hotel rooms, we might have to get a rental, the price of eating … Everything has went up, so to narrow it down, we like to go to places like Branson — places that are closer,” Cleveland said. “When you used to put 30 dollars in your tank, you are having to put 45 to 50 in there now.”

Meanwhile, Esmeralda Olmedo made the tough decision to postpone her family trip to California.

“We normally fly, but we were planning to take a road trip. So that, you know, it’s getting canceled because of gas,” Olmedo said.

Anderson says there is technically not a “best time” to travel as prices often change by the hour. However, here are a few tips to consider when planning a vacation:

  • Be flexible with the location, travel dates and length of stay
  • Choose historically cheaper destinations like Mexico, the Dominican Republic and cities with ample flight routes like Las Vegas
  • Wait until the off-season like May, September and October for travel

When booking flights, Anderson says a good rule of thumb to follow is always booking flights with long connection times.

“People hate long connection times, and I’m over here saying please book at least with three-hour connection. If there is a delay or cancellation, you have a chance of getting that connecting flight,” Anderson said.