Travel Costs Soar Despite Recent Price Rollbacks

The cost of travel is not a pretty picture for consumers, a new analysis by Bankrate reveals.

Airfares, car rental prices and hotel rates have soared in recent years, and recent price declines pale in comparison to years of price hikes, says Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior industry analyst.

April 2023 airfares were 9.6% higher, on average, than they were in April 2019, according to a new … [+] Bankrate analysis. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that airfares increased 33% from April 2021 to April 2022 and then fell slightly during the next 12 months.

“This isn’t a story about falling prices — it’s more about airfares plateauing at a high level,” Rossman says. “Another way to look at it is that April 2023 airfares are 9.6% higher, on average, than they were in April 2019, prior to the pandemic.”

Traveling by auto doesn’t bring good news either. Gas prices jumped 43.6% from April 2021 to April 2022 and then dropped 12.2% during the next 12 months.

“While driving has gotten cheaper, on a relative basis, over the past year, this is another area in which consumers are paying considerably more now than they were in the recent past,” Rossman says.

Similarly, car and truck rental costs are down 11.2% since April 2022, but they nearly doubled — rose 82.2% — from April 2020 to April 2021,” the analyst says. “And then they increased another 10.4% from April 2021 to April 2022.”

Hotel rates have also gotten pricier.

“The average cost for ‘lodging away from home,’ as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls it, is up 3.3% over the past year and 23.6% over the past two years,” Rossman says.

Rising restaurant prices are taking another bigger chunk out of travelers’ wallets.

“Food away from home,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, costs 8.6%% more than it did a year ago, 16.4% more than it did two years ago and 24.2% more than it did in April 2019,” Rossman says.

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Travel Costs Soar Despite Recent Price Rollbacks

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