Are you traveling this summer? Plan to spend more money on just about everything


After being stuck at home for most of 2020, people across the country are rushing to flee again.

“Travel is in full swing this summer,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, public relations manager for AAA Central Penn. “It is clear that Americans are eagerly seeking the travel opportunities that they have been putting off for a year and a half.”

According to Spiegel, the travel season has grown steadily since it started around Memorial Day. This year’s Independence Day, she said, saw more domestic travel than any previous year on record, with an increase of more than five percent from 2019.

But with this increase in travel demand has come a rise in prices. Overall, travel expenses appear to be increasing. Everything from rental properties and hotel rooms to airline tickets are seeing dramatic price increases compared to a few months ago, and especially compared to last year.

“Mid-range hotel rates have increased 32-35%, with average nightly rates ranging between $ 156 and $ 395 for two- and three-diamond hotels respectively,” Spiegel said.

Ron Moore, owner of NJ Beach House Rentals in Seaside Heights, NJ, has also seen the price go up.

“[Our prices] went from $ 450 a night to a three bedroom, two and a half bath [rental] at over $ 700 a night to $ 1,000 a night, ”Moore said. “July 4th is usually the busiest week, and I have a lot of phone calls with people trying to get last minute rentals. But there was nothing to be had.

Spiegel said “growing demand” is one reason for the rising costs, and “we don’t expect it to slow down throughout the summer.” But there are other factors at play as well. The economic impact caused by COVID-19 still impacts multiple industries, with ripples developing to affect other industries in unexpected ways.

Rental cars, for example, have seen their prices increase by more than 80% in some cases, according to Spiegel.

“Consumers have experienced high costs and limited availability of rental cars in some markets due to the shortage of chips affecting automakers,” she said. “The production delay presented a domino effect. We are currently in the process of purchasing another vehicle [for AAA Central Penn], and we have the same problem: manufacturers don’t make that many vehicles.

Likewise, gasoline currently sells for an average of $ 3.21 per gallon in Pennsylvania on Friday. That’s three cents more than last month’s average and 70 cents more than the same time last year. Spiegel added that the national average gas price of over $ 3 a gallon is the highest we’ve seen since the summer of 2014.

Moore added that some of the online tools travelers could use to help them plan their trips come with their own expense. Websites like Vrbo and Airbnb, he said, add their own fees to the cost of a rental.

“So what you think is a $ 3,000 rental for a week could end up costing $ 4,000 by the time they add in the taxes and website fees,” Moore said. “It’s just another kind of thing to watch out for. “

There are still ways to cut costs if you are planning a trip this summer. Traveling midweek can help cut costs and make it easier to find an opening for a hotel stay.

“For last minute bookings, if they can find something that’s available mid-week, that might be an option,” Moore said. “I don’t expect weekends to be available. A lot of people book four day weekends, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday, something like that. So a lot of [rental properties] have been booked well in advance this year.

It’s also a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance, and it may even be worth talking to a travel agent for larger trips. If you are driving, making sure your tires are properly filled with air and using the car’s recirculation button while the air conditioner is on can help you use gasoline efficiently.

And it’s always a good idea to make sure your vehicle is well maintained before you go. Not only does this save money on travel, but it can also save you headaches and expense down the road.

“Our road services have been very busy this summer with all the extra domestic and road trips people have taken,” said Spiegel. “So this is one of those places where an ounce of prevention is better than a cure.”

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