Fewer travelers report fears of contracting (or spreading) COVID-19. Most border restrictions have been lifted. But there’s still one reason people might not be traveling in 2023: They can’t afford to.
The number one barrier to travel for Americans in 2023 is “lack of money,” according to the annual State of Travel report from Going, a flight deal alert website. Going surveyed thousands of its members by email, and of the 3,274 people who responded, 27% cited lack of money as the main reason for not traveling.
Here’s the full breakdown of responses from the survey around top barriers to travel in 2023:
- Lack of money: 27%.
- Lack of time off from work or school: 26%.
- Family and other commitments: 13%.
- I traveled as much as I wanted: 12%.
- Concerns about COVID-19: 8%.
- COVID-19 travel restrictions: 7%.
To complicate matters, travel prices are especially high. A combination of surging travel demand, industry staff shortages and general inflation led both U.S. hotel room rates and airfares to steadily rise in 2022, marking record highs by May 2022. While average prices for these travel costs have since eased, they’re still higher than pre-pandemic prices.
According to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the consumer price index issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, airfares in January 2023 are up 25.6% versus the same month in 2021, and up 3.7% versus the same month in 2019. January 2023 hotel prices are up 16.3% versus January 2020.
And perhaps most stark is the surge in rental car prices. High rental car prices became one of the biggest stories of pandemic-era travel as folks opted for road trips over air travel (and the concurrent semiconductor shortage didn’t help). The average car rental price in January 2023 was an incredible 36.7% higher than the same