Thanksgiving travelers faced major price hurdles this holiday.
Decades-high inflation, coupled with a continued travel rebound stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, is leading to higher prices for just about everything travel-related, including airfare, hotels and gas. Inflation cooled slightly in October, but still hit 7.7%.
The average price for a domestic round-trip flight the week of Thanksgiving was $468 if it was booked in early November, with prices only increasing as the month went on, according to Kayak. That marks a 48% increase from 2021. And another headache: United Airlines expects the holiday will be its busiest period since the beginning of the pandemic.
Things don’t get better once travelers reach their destinations, either. The average hotel stay for Thanksgiving cost $173 per night as of early November — a 14% increase from last year, according to Hopper.
Car rental prices, at least, had a small drop compared to last year — down to $84 a day for Thanksgiving, reflecting a 1% drop from 2021 when demand far outpaced supply, according to Priceline. But that price is still 62% more than what a rental car cost before the pandemic.
Most travelers, though, are expected to travel by car, with AAA predicting that nearly 49 million will hit the road.
Gas prices have increased slightly since last year. A regular gallon cost $3.64 on average Tuesday — up about 24 cents compared to 2021, but down significantly from the summer peak of $5, according to AAA.
Overall, AAA predicts there will be nearly 55 million travelers this Thanksgiving — nearly 98% of the pre-pandemic volume, and the third busiest since 2000 when the group started tracking the data.