Though COVID-19 is not yet in the rearview mirror and inflation continues to rise, families still have a voracious desire to travel.
According to the Visa Business and Economic Insight report, the U.S. economy has an estimated $300 billion in pent-up demand for travel,
“We began planning our Disney World trip in October 2021,” said Monique Lites, who works as an assistant teacher and building substitute for Pittsburgh Public Schools. “We booked the trip to Disney in April (2022) and paid in full via debit card.”
Monique and her husband, Marco Lites, will be traveling to Washington, D.C., and Atlanta this summer, but their biggest trip—later this year—will be to Orlando with their two young children.
The cost of a Disney World trip including airfare averages more than $5,400 for a family of four, according to MoneyWeHave.com, although families can spend more than that depending on optional upgrades.
The Lites said they spent around $3,400 for their Disney tickets and airfare but are sticking to a strict budget for the trip. They’ve made modifications due to inflation, Monique Lites said.
“I am really big on saving,” she said. “Initially, we planned on going at the end of June, but the total price was extremely expensive, and we wanted to stay at a very nice kid resort but without spending too much.”
The Lites said they saved money by purchasing the family’s nonstop flights from Pittsburgh International Airport to Orlando International Airport on Southwest Airlines.
Impact of inflation
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual inflation rate in May hit 8.6 percent, its highest level since 1981. Although price increases hurt, most travelers are not canceling their summer plans.
“More people are pivoting their plans to accommodate price hikes and additional costs, rather than canceling [travel] altogether,” Eric Bamberger, senior vice president of hospitality at marketing technology company Zeta Global told CNBC.
The Visa Business and Economic Insight report suggests that consumers are likely to push through inflationary pressures to engage in some form of travel this summer, even if it means taking a shorter trip.
Based on recent trends, total consumer expenditures on domestic travel could reach a full recovery by mid-summer and grow soon after.
According to May passenger traffic figures at PIT, the airport served more than 746,426 passengers, a 35 percent increase over May 2021 and about 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels.