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Here’s How Americans Spent Their Money on Travel in 2022

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2022 was a banner year for travel. Many people made up for the time they lost the previous couple of years due to the pandemic and took big trips, even bucket list trips that they had been saving or had to put off due to travel restrictions.

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According to CNBC, international trips were big hits to such places as Italy, the Bahamas, and even the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora. Big trips naturally come with bigger price tags, but even general travel was more expensive due to inflation. Airfare rose as much as 43% compared to 2021, according to NerdWallet, as did the prices for car rentals, hotels, and food away from home.

Here, GOBankingRates takes a look at just how much Americans spent on travel in 2022.

Airfare

Airfare has gone through some radical ups and downs since 2020. It hit record lows early in the pandemic, down around 24% than the prior year by April 2020, and then shot up to record highs by May 2022, when it was 22% higher than the previous year (and was 43% higher than the prior year by the summer of 2022).

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According to Insuranks, Americans spent an average of $729.86 each on flights this year. And even though inflation has tightened many people’s budgets, they are still making travel plans. As of November 8, 2022, from a survey of 4,035 U.S. travelers, 8 out of 10 have some kind of travel plans on the horizon — 58% for leisure, 51% to visit friends or family, and 15% for business, according to Forbes.

Additionally, according to a GoBankingRates survey done in early April 2022, of 1,037 Americans, almost 27% of respondents said they spent over $2,000 on their most recent vacation. Another nearly 35% reported a recent travel budget of $500 or less. But the top response in the survey suggested a total travel budget of between $1,001 and $2,000.

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Hotels

While it’s hard to pin down exactly how much Americans spent on hotels and other lodgings, these prices have gone through some roller coaster dips. Lodging prices were at their lowest levels in nearly a decade in December 2020, rebounded by the summer of 2021, and reached record highs by May 2022, according to NerdWallet.

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Thankfully, hotel prices have continued to decline since then, dropping 0.8% in June, 2% more in July and August, another 4% in September, and a half a percent more in October 2022.

According to Bloomberg, around April 2022, U.S. travelers were still forking out a decent amount of money for their lodgings, some as much as $2,000 for a few night’s stay. Inflation and talk of a looming recession seems to have cooled some of that spending down in the latter half of 2022, however.

Rental Cars

The summer of 2021 proved to be one of the most expensive for car rentals on record, according to NerdWallet, when prices reached their peak and have continued to come down. However, while they may be cheaper than 2021, they’re still up 47% compared to 2019.

NerdWallet also did a study ranking the top 10 cities with the cheapest rental cars, and even in those, the average weekly rental price was not cheap. The cheapest, in Charlotte, North Carolina, was $491 per week, and in 10th place, Chicago, was $671 per week. For more coveted destinations, car rental prices were exorbitant.

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Food

Dining out is never cheap, but travelers definitely felt the price gouge of food away from home in their travels this year. In GOBankingRates’ April study, one-third of respondents noted that almost all their travel expenses were higher, but about 45% pointed out food was especially pricey this year.

Travel Remains Robust

In general, travel seems to be one expense Americans are hesitant to give up, even with budgetary concerns on the mind.

Jonathan Kletzel, PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S. airline and travel practice leader, told Travel + Leisure magazine, “Leisure travel is more than back. It’s exceeding in many cases pre-pandemic levels.” Kletzel cited a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ holiday spending survey that found 46% of respondents plan to travel for the holidays by plane, an increase of 40% from 2021.

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