Someday we all might get back out on the road and not have to worry about COVID and mask-wearing but travel is going to be more expensive when we do.
Already we are seeing rising prices in gasoline and that should continue through the next several months before dipping back down during the winter season. For now, it is not unusual to see the cost of a gallon of gas well over $3.00 around the country. Some southern states are still holding just below the $3.00 mark but it will breach $3.00 soon.
The higher prices are making normal commutes to and from work obscenely high but it gets worse for those traveling, especially for those who own RVs.
My family owns a 32 foot Winnebago and it hasn’t left our driveway in over a year. Now that we can get back out again, fuel costs are making it near impossible. The money we save by not staying at a hotel is now being eaten by fuel costs. An average RV will get around 12-16 miles if it is a good engine, most of the time that number is lower. Add in a 60 or 90-gallon tank and you are easily paying around $180 to over $200.00 to fill it up.
To put this in perspective, traveling along I-95 south from North Carolina to Orlando typically costs me two fill-ups and the back again. With prices going higher, we are renting hotel rooms and taking the car instead.
After looking at various hotel prices for things like simple trips to Miami or New York and even Disney resorts and the like, it is clear that we are going to see increases in hotel prices through the latter half of 2021 and it should rise considerably in 2022.
After travel began to come back after the initial COVID quarantines across the country, business owners in the travel industry reduced rates to almost nothing in order to entice vacationers. In October of 2020, I was able to book a suite at a hotel in Miami for less than $100.00. That same suite now is already listed at almost $200.00 for the same time period.
This isn’t really shocking considering that more and more people are stretching their legs after being cooped up. It also should be noted that these prices are not being gouged, they are trending back to pre-pandemic numbers. For those of us who safely traveled during the height of the situation, we are seeing it swayback.
Hotels are not the only businesses seeing their prices head back up. Airlines are slowly raising their rates and it is growing harder to find the deals that you so easily could have a year ago. Expedia’s 2021 travel trend report shows that Saturday is the best day to book air travel and that Thursday and Friday are the best days to actually travel. If you are looking for a deal, you may find it better on Saturdays.
The industry was hit hard by COVID and the deals that were once in place to entice you back will not only go back to normal but higher to compensate for the losses for some businesses and car rental companies could be one that sees prices higher than pre-pandemic numbers.
I spoke with a former employee of Enterprise and he said that there will always be reduced rates for rental cars but you will have to look a little deeper to find them and that he expects the company to raise their prices.
Last year those that traveled for leisure tended to take their own vehicles given the state of the airline restrictions. Renting a car for long drives is not ideal and it is possible to see the daily charge per mile increase as well.
Overall, things will eventually get back to normal even with prices. For now, the prices remain lower as companies welcome you back. It may not be a bad idea to check on rates for hotels, airfare, rental cars, and everything in between that you can book in advance and take advantage of those deals now. In most cases, you can cancel well ahead of time should you opt not to go, airlines tend to only offer vouchers at cost and can increase the price making you pay more later.