If you’ve spent any time searching for airline tickets recently, then you know the airline industry has seen a shift. Prices are on the way up, and tickets are harder to come by. According to Forbes, the TSA projects summer air travel in 2023 to be at the highest volume it has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So what does this mean for you? If you’re hoping to hop on a jet plane to head on a West Coast tour of the national park lands or want to jet to your favorite summer destination to enjoy the beach, you will find it harder to get tickets and that the price is going to be steeper. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how the airline and travel industry will look in the summer of 2023.
Why the Surge in Air Travel?
So what’s demand like? The surge started around the end of the first quarter and has remained steady since. The International Civil Aviation Organization Council estimates the end of the year could bring 3% growth over the pre-pandemic numbers.
Why is the demand for air travel hitting pre-pandemic levels this summer, in particular? The answer to that question is multifaceted. But there is one main reason from which most others stem…
The COVID-19 Health Emergency Has Been Declared Over
First, there is a pent-up demand for vacations. Many American travelers put off their travel plans while they waited for the pandemic to end. Restrictions and mask mandates made travel less pleasant, which added to this issue.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the global Public Health Emergency for COVID-19, at the end of the year’s first quarter on May 5, 2023. Since then, a travel boom has been brewing.
On May 12, following the announcement by the WHO, the U.S. CDC officially ended all travel bans for domestic and international travel thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consequently, there has been a huge rise in re-opening attractions, hotel openings, and travel spots open now than before the pandemic. Today, without these restrictions and with many newly opened attractions to explore, traveling farther distances is becoming attractive. Many travelers feel they are catching up on three years of not traveling and putting their experiences on pause.
See Related: Can Tourists Get COVID Vaccine in the USA?
With the world starting to emerge from the ravages of the pandemic and a Trump presidency (I don’t care how you vote – you know it was hard work), general optimism has grown in the last year, despite the grimness happening in Ukraine.
With this returning optimism, frequently canceled and postponed sporting events, concerts, cultural experiences, and festivals are all moving forward, business as usual, and people are jumping on board by, well, jumping on board an aircraft to get there!
Preparing for New Travel Norms
Travelers should prepare for some changes as they head out to travel in 2023. Here are some key ones to consider:
- Online U.S. passport renewal – It’s long overdue, but we’ve caught up with the rest of the world! Expect this perk by the end of the year.
- Entry-exit system – This started in May. Essentially, non-Europeans have to submit biometric data to enter and leave the E.U.
- Longer waits at the airport – More travelers means more lines to check in for your flight. Plan to leave for the airport early to combat this!
- More international flights – Many airlines are adding new international flights to places like Spain, Dubai, and Australia.
- Changing travel guidelines – If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything about airline travel, it’s that the guidelines are constantly changing, so be prepared for changes, and be prepared for it to happen in increments, everywhere.
Top Tips for Navigating the Travel Boom Coming to Air Travel in 2023
Alright, now we know why there’s a summer travel boom and what we can expect when traveling this summer. Are you ready to jump on a plane and head to your favorite historic city or natural attraction? Slow your roll, hoss; here are some tips that will help:
Choose Flights Carefully
Choose your flights carefully. Nonstop flights reduce your stress, but can increase your cost. Conversely, avoid extremely long layovers, which put you at risk of a flight cancellation, as well as having to figure out how to spend your layover, and watch out for short layovers in case your first flight is delayed.
Airlines and the travel industry as a whole are still trying to improve their infrastructure to accommodate this new demand. Plus, we’re going through an interesting chapter where a lot of the industry is trying to get by with skeleton crews and automate certain roles.
For these reasons, you can expect more lines and longer wait times, so be patient. Also, get to the airport early enough; seriously, hang out and have a coffee or a bloody mary; why rush?
Travelers who book early are going to get the best deals and the best seat selection. If you wait trying to snag a better deal, you may lose out altogether. There are simply too many people out there who want to fly to exotic destinations this summer, so the early bird really does get the worm.
Use Booking Apps
While these apps can help you find a great deal on flights or your trip as a whole (and we can vouch for all of them), watch out for hidden fees for luggage and seat selection, which can increase the already rising cost of your tickets.
One of the best ways to save money on your airline tickets is to be flexible with when you fly. The difference in price from one day to the next or from one time of day to the next is substantial. Play around with your travel dates and times, and you just might find that you save a little on your ticket prices.
Consider Booking Packages
Say you want to tour the Grand Egyptian Museum, stay in a luxury resort, and purchase airline tickets all in one go; so what’s stopping you? Booking a package is one of the oldest and fastest ways to save money on your airline tickets. There’s a reason they’re so popular. Just be prepared to let go of some of the autonomy and planning that some people enjoy about travel.
Use a VPN When Booking Flights Online
Do you use a Virtual Private Network at home? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you create a secure connection between a computing device and the internet, primarily to keep you and your info safe online.
One of the added perks of a VPN is that you can adjust your internet’s “location”, meaning you can access different regions (e.g. Canada, or the E.U.) on streaming sites like Netflix, as well as flight search engines and booking sites. You’ll find that not only is it cheaper to buy flights on certain days, but also from certain countries or even zip codes!
Research Dining and Entertainment
Don’t just book your airline tickets and hotel rooms. Make the most out of this long-awaited travel by researching what you want to do while you’re traveling! Look online for Michelin Star-rated restaurants and popular attractions and see if they have a presence on sites like Tiquets, GetYourGuide, Viator, or Groupon.
Ready to Travel? Here are the Popular Travel Destinations 2023
What are the best places to travel in 2023? With all of the newly opened attractions and locations, where should you make your plans? Here are some of the top travel destinations around the world for your summer travel experiences.
U.S. National Parks
The natural beauty of the United States’ National Parks remains a top travel destination for domestic travelers and international visitors. With over 420 national parks to choose from, coming in all shapes and sizes, I’m sure you can find at least one that appeals to you! Not sure where to go? Try Yellowstone, Acadia, or Yosemite, for starters.
Las Vegas, Nevada
While not exactly a new destination, Las Vegas is always a popular summer destination. While it’s had its struggles coming back from the pandemic (haven’t we all), the luxury hotels and casinos of Las Vegas continue to make it popular with 2023 travelers this summer.
The West Coast of Australia is an unforgettable bucket list destination that many are looking to cross off the list this year. So why not join in? Explore beautiful beaches and vibrant underwater wildlife while diving to see the Great Barrier Reef.
See Related: Best Beaches on the East Coast of Australia
Not far from Australia, you’ll find their nearest and dearest neighbors; New Zealand. Made up of over 600 islands, centered around two large islands, New Zealand is home to almost every sort of climate and ecosystem found on Earth. This means white and black sand beaches, volcanoes, meadows, temperate woods, rainforests, deserts, and glaciers to explore!
One of the more recently opened corners of the world seeing a lot of attention this summer, Hong Kong is a top choice for urbanites, offering the draw of a thriving city. Kowloon is just incredible, a city that really never sleeps, with a unique blend of British and Chinese architecture and planning.
Total Solar Eclipse Viewing in Oregon
If you want to hold off on travel this summer, in October 2023, the U.S. will experience a total eclipse. If you want to see it in person, Crater Lake in Oregon is expected to be one of the best viewing spots with its pristine lakefront, and airline tickets will be in high demand.
See Related: Best Stargazing Places in The World
Final Thoughts: Embrace the Travel Boom!
The travel boom of 2023 is teaching us many things about our travel habits. One of the biggest things is that we love to travel, and we want to head back out to the skies in the aftermath of COVID-19.
If you are planning to travel in the coming year, make sure you stay aware of changes in the industry. By following the latest travel news, you can be well-prepared for your next trip, no matter where it takes you.