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Planning to travel for the holidays? Prepare for some expensive headaches.

Justin Ho Nov 5, 2021
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High gas prices are just one of the many issues awaiting holiday travelers this season. Getty Images

Planning to travel for the holidays? Prepare for some expensive headaches.

Justin Ho Nov 5, 2021
Heard on:
High gas prices are just one of the many issues awaiting holiday travelers this season. Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Nearly half of us plan on traveling at some point this holiday season, according to a survey out this week from Deloitte. And whether they’re hitting the road or boarding planes, travelers will face a number of roadblocks.

Seventy percent of travelers plan on driving this holiday season, according to the Deloitte survey.

And that is not going to be cheap.

“Motorists hitting the road for Thanksgiving, or amongst the holidays, are going to be greeted by the highest gas prices we’ve seen since the holidays of 2014,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

DeHaan said that’s because demand for gas is growing, but oil production still hasn’t caught up to pre-pandemic levels.

Prices at the pump are already higher than they were a year ago.

“And where we go from here is potentially even higher yet, and that’s thanks to a rise, a continued rise in global demand, as we see pandemic issues easing and economies reopening,” DeHaan said.

More of those drivers will be renting cars this year. In 2020, Deloitte found that roughly 20% planned on renting.

This year?

“That number is up to about 30%,” said Mike Daher at Deloitte. 

Many rental companies sold cars off early in the pandemic, and are still rebuilding their fleets.

“So I would expect longer wait times at the rental counter, and also encourage folks to definitely book early,” he said.

It’s same story for air travel.

“We’ve seen periodic problems where airlines simply don’t have enough pilots, flight attendants, or both, to operate the schedules that they had hoped to operate,” said Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group.

Harteveldt said airlines are training more pilots, and bringing flight attendants back from furlough.

“But if you’ve got demand that’s almost at pre-pandemic levels, but your capacity is not there, and you can’t add flights because of concerns about not having enough pilots or flight attendants, that means only one thing — airfares go up,” he said.

About one in four low-income respondents told Deloitte they plan to cut back on travel spending this year, while 30% of higher income travelers plan to spend significantly more.

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