Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Take pent-up travel demand that’s a hangover from the pandemic. Add a pilot shortage and a months-long war that continues to drive up gas prices, and you’ve got the perfect storm for travelers over Independence Day weekend.

This Fourth of July is expected to be one of the most expensive travel weekends in years, according to Hopper, the deal-finding travel app.

Domestic airfare is averaging $437 per roundtrip ticket, up 45% compared to 2019. International flights are up to $1,200 per ticket, up 31% since 2019.

Air travel prices are driven by supply and demand. Right now, there is both higher-than-normal demand and lower-than-normal supply, as airlines continue to rebuild their networks following years of cutting routes. Adding to the mix, jet fuel prices are up 134% compared to 2019.

The average daily hotel rate in the United States is now $155.37, up 15.4% from 2019, according to the latest report from STR, a data analytics company for the hospitality industry.

Rental cars are averaging $66 per day in the U.S., per Hopper’s data, and road-trippers can expect to pay more at the pump this summer, too.

The national average per gallon on Wednesday morning was $4.96, down more than a nickel from the high of $5.02 reached last week. Prices at the pump may fall further before the holiday weekend, as President Joe Biden is considering a federal gas tax holiday. That would mean another 18-cent drop in gas prices, say officials.

Procrastinators still hoping to get away for the holiday are running out of runway. “Most travelers booked their flights for the long weekend five to six weeks in advance, in late May and early June,” according to Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist. For travelers looking for the best possible price, timing can matter. “For the best prices on domestic trips, fly on Saturday of the long weekend and return on Monday, July Fourth. Departing on Saturday instead of Thursday can save travelers $70 per ticket off peak prices,” she advises.

Unfortunately, Hopper’s analysis indicates that travelers are likely in for a bumpy holiday weekend due to flight disruptions. Already this month, 23% of flights scheduled to depart from U.S airports have been delayed, according to Hopper. That’s up 17% just since May.

The most disrupted airports over the past week? Chicago’s Midway, Newark and Baltimore.

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