For those wondering whether travel pricing will exceed 2019 pre-pandemic levels this year, the general consensus among travel advisors is that much like everything else during the pandemic, the verdict is still out.

Nonetheless, they noted that pricing in some industry segments is indeed higher than it was in 2019.

“It really depends on the destination, but I am seeing pricing for 2022 either at 2019 pricing or above it,” said Becky Lukovic, owner of Bella Planning Services, an affiliate of Travel Experts.

“In the US, pricing for hotels is definitely higher, and clients traveling to hotspots like Napa Valley or luxury resorts in the Southeast and beaches are seeing extremely high prices for hotels and resorts. It’s been a challenge. I’ve seen airfare prices for some destinations like Hawaii increase dramatically as well.”

On the air front, Tom Karnes, owner of LaMacchia Travel, said domestic airfare has been unpredictable. “There is no continuity domestically,” he said. “I don’t remember a time when domestic pricing was so out of whack.”

Mike Hart, director of sales at Modern Travelworks, echoed Karnes’ sentiments. “Flight prices have been very up and down, depending on the COVID protocols and the new variants,” he said. “If COVID numbers and restrictions increase, the flight prices tend to go down, and vice versa.”

Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations, noted that airfare “to the Caribbean and Mexico – when not booked last minute – is pricing decently.”

“Airfare to Europe is actually quite high right now for the spring, summer and fall,” she said.

“The real winner of 2022 pricing is hotels, domestic hotels are charging higher rates than in 2019, of course that is in the major touristy cities and the cities located in warm regions are charging more than I can remember,” Karnes said.

Added Itzel Rodriguez, director of weddings at Modern Travelworks, “Hotel rates are higher. Also, minimum lengths of stay are more common now for non-holiday travel so that has increased the average cost.”

For groups, “prices for 2022 are higher, especially for Spring 2022. We are seeing 2023 prices are even higher than 2022,” she said.

“Many all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean also seem to be pricing higher if you are looking for summer and fall but seem to have last-minute deals to travel in the next several weeks,” Doncsecz said.

“This leads me to believe that they are counting on better occupancy in the summer and are dealing with last-minute cancellations.”

On the cruise front, a Franchise CruiseOne Owner Chris Caulfield said he is generally seeing fares that are higher – and in some cases much higher – than 2019 levels.

“I think cruise prices will stay high this year. A lot of capacity is already taken up by people who moved their cruise from last year,” he said. “Add the overall desire to travel again and demand and pricing can only go up.”

Meanwhile, inflation is playing a part in 2022 pricing. “Inflation is inevitable,” Hart said. “The more normal COVID becomes, the less fear people will have traveling. If fear decreases, prices increase. If fear increases, the price for travel decreases.”

By mid-February, Karnes said he believes “all prices are going to be increased and space will become very limited, increasing the rates even more across the board.”

If significant numbers of people traveling begin again, pricing will most likely shoot up, Doncsecz said. “For Europe, I think consumers are jittery right now and have PTSD from having to cancel/change plans so they could be waiting to see if pricing comes down which could mean that availability could change on a dime and pricing could change in a blink.”

Lukovic is predicting that “US prices will remain high as many people continue to be hesitant about the ever-changing rules for international travel and plan getaways a bit closer to home.”

In the end, advisors are advising their clients to book sooner rather than later.

“I always advise clients to book early, as in right now,” Caulfield said. “My agency monitors pricing on cruises so in the event pricing goes down I can save them more money, however, I fully expect prices to only go up for most cruises this year as more people return to travel.”

Added Lukovic, “I definitely recommend booking early as that’s the best way to ensure you have the best pricing.”

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