If you feel like everyone is on vacation without you right now, you might be right.
Data shows that travel is on the rise – despite rising airfares – as many countries ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen borders.
Vacation-hungry Americans are making up for lost time during the pandemic, analysts say, and there’s a new term for that: revenge travel.
Here’s what happens and what you should know if you want to join.
What do the numbers show?
The short answer is that everything has been on the rise lately: airline tickets, fuel costs, flights taken.
Travel insurance company Allianz Partners analyzed more than 40,000 itineraries planned this summer and concluded that US travel to Europe will jump 600% from last year.
This sharp rise is not limited to Europe. This month during an industry conference, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said “demand is off the charts,” as the airline industry struggles to keep up.
The boom is yet another consumer response to the pandemic, said Steve Trent, a research analyst at Citi who focuses on air travel.
“Maybe 18 months ago, everyone wanted to buy Peloton because people are still locked up, and now we’re kind of in a different phase of the epidemic,” he said, noting that infection rates are on the rise but hospital treatment has not reached previous wave levels.
Even now, people are buying airline tickets.
“There is a shift from consumers buying goods to consumers buying services.”
He said that the data shows that the prices of tickets sold so far for the month of July were 35% higher than the tickets sold in July 2019 (the last summer before the pandemic started). Meanwhile, the industry as a whole is not operating at the same level it was before the pandemic. Trent said fewer flight paths, fewer crew members, and less equipment meant capacity was down 15%.
What exactly is “Vengeance Travel”?
There is no dictionary definition yet, but industry professionals say the term “revenge travel” is beginning to spread.
Revenge travel is widely described as a massive increase in people wanting to make up for time and experiences lost due to the pandemic.
Eric Hrobant, owner of CIRE Travel, a luxury travel agency in New York City, said that while the idea of travel as revenge didn’t necessarily resonate, he saw it more as an attitude within clients.
He said it was an advertisement for “Fuck you, Covid, I can travel and I’m on the go.” In his own words, Hrupant describes it as “revenge of ‘Runa'”.
If travelers have any hostility, it may be toward the idea of staying home this summer. Hrupant, who has been in business for nine years, said the past few months have been their busiest ever, due to the mix of limited staff, limited contacts abroad, and lots of new customers.
What should you keep in mind?
If you are one of those people who like to get out and see the world, Herbrandt’s advice is to stay realistic.
“I am definitely someone who should promote travel. But I would say if you haven’t planned your trip to Europe in July or August, forget about it,” he said.
Hrubrant said that if you’re due to take this European fantasy trip, try to wait until September or even October. This way you’ll get much better value, deal with fewer crowds and have a variety of choices about where to stay and what to do.
He also suggested that you stay open about where you might want to go. Many countries in South and Central America, as well as parts of Asia, are slowly beginning to reopen their doors.
“This might also be a good time to do something a bit more adventurous, as the tourists still aren’t overcrowded,” Herbrandt added.
His last tip: Remember that everyone has had a tough past few years. The attempt to return to normal has put a lot of pressure on fewer workers in the hospitality industry.
“Everyone is getting beaten up and exhausted right now,” he said. “Be kind, be patient and just know that you will have the best experience if you go into it with your best mind.”
Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.