Flying to Europe this year might sound as absurd as opting for premium gasoline. With prices this high, is it really the right time to splurge?
“As a result of labor shortages and all these things going on, travel is more expensive than it’s been in a while,“ says travel journalist Oneika Raymond. “Flights are really expensive. Accommodation is really expensive. And revenge travel is a thing.”
Although travel prices continue to soar overall due to constrained supply and mounting demand, pockets of affordability remain.
Europe represents one of these pockets, where weakening currency exchange rates against the dollar and tepid demand have left prices relatively unscathed. In fact, flights within the U.S. have become so expensive this year that some international destinations, including many in Europe, offer a relative bargain.
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“If you are willing to pay to fly domestically, check out international destinations,” suggests Hayley Berg, lead economist at Hopper, a travel booking app. “Because there is a good chance that there is a flight to somewhere else in the world for about the same price.”
Airfare is less inflated in Europe
Domestic airfare was 30% higher at the end of May 2022 compared with May 2019, according to data from Hopper.
“Airfare this summer within the U.S. will cost $600 to $800,” says Berg. “At those prices you can get to Reykjavik, Iceland, or Dublin, Ireland.”
Indeed, flights from the U.S. to Europe were only up 13% at the end of May 2022 compared with the same period in 2019, according to Hopper. That trend squares with tourist demand, which remains below pre-pandemic levels: About 19% fewer U.S. travelers left for Europe in May 2022 compared with May 2019, before the pandemic, according to data from the International Trade Administration.