A pulse on summer travel

Although Covid-19 cases continue to rise – once again – in much of the U.S., most are pressing ahead with summer travel plans. In fact, more than half of Americans are planning to take a vacation this season, according to the U.S. Travel Association. So where are people going and how are they getting there? Buckle up and keep reading.


U.S. airlines are dealing with an ongoing staffing crisis after more than 400,000 airline workers were fired or furloughed due to the pandemic. Add to that a recent uptick in demand for air travel, and we’re looking at uniquely challenging flying conditions. Between the Friday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, U.S. airlines canceled 2,653 flights (or nearly 3% of all flights), according to FlightAware. Making matters even worse is that we’re paying more than ever for these flights that may or may not be canceled. Airline fares in the U.S. are averaging more than $400 for a round trip, up 24% from 2019 and 45% from last year, according to the AP.


Since air travel is so tumultuous at the moment, you might assume that journeying by car is a less fraught alternative. You would be wrong. Gas prices nationwide hit record highs following Memorial Day weekend, with AAA reporting that the average price of a gallon of regular is an eye-popping $4.82. In some places, it has reached an astounding $10 a gallon. We’re also in the midst of a rental car shortage, so if you don’t already have a vehicle, you may be out of luck for that road trip you have planned.


Despite the many logistical challenges, Americans are too hungry for adventure to be deterred. According to Airbnb, 9 out of 10 active users are considering traveling this summer, with the majority planning to trek stateside. While domestic travel makes up more than half of the nights booked on the platform in the first quarter of 2022 for summer stays, AIrbnb reports that international travel has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, with more international bookings this summer compared to last year at this time. As far as what kind of travel people are doing, Google Trends data indicates an emphasis on the Great Outdoors. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks are among the top-searched summer attractions in the U.S., and “glamping near me” has seen a 500% increase from January 2019 to April 2022.