Travel costs fell in April’s inflation reading. The dip may be short-lived, experts warn

by | May 11, 2023 | Financial

Sunrise at Laguna Torre in Patagonia, Argentina.© Marco Bottigelli | Moment | Getty ImagesTravel in 2023 has been expensive. Indeed, some prices — like those for international flights — have hit record highs.Americans are unleashing their wanderlust en masse after a few years of pandemic-era trip delays, making for a busy — and likely costly — summer travel season.”In my 19 years in the industry, this is by far the busiest year I’ve had on record,” Jessica Griscavage, a travel advisor and founder of Runway Travel, recently told CNBC.Typical trip costs increased by 9% in the first quarter of 2023, according to the NerdWallet Travel Price Index, which includes prices for flights, hotels, car rentals and dining out. When expressed in dollar terms, travelers would have paid an extra $180 per person for a $2,000 trip, NerdWallet found.But travelers saw a reprieve in April, according to federal data.Airline ticket prices declined by 2.6% in April relative to March, according to the consumer price index, issued Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They had risen in February and March.Hotel and motel prices, as well as those to rent a car or truck, each fell by more than 3% during the month.”As has been the case ever since the onset of the pandemic, travel prices have been volatile,” said Sally French, a travel expert at NerdWallet.The reprieve may be temporary — but it’s hard to knowThe April reprieve may be temporary in some categories, though.Round-trip domestic airfare, for example, will jump by 7% in May and another 5% in June, where it will peak at $328 a ticket, according to a forecast by Hopper, a travel app. And travelers are “in for some sticker shock” relative to international airfare, which is around its highest level in five years, Hopper said. General travel prices “are certainly higher than what they were pre-pandemic and even versus just last year,” French said.However, while consumer demand has been high, airlines and hotels have at the same time introduced more supply via additional flight routes, hot …

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