Travel planning can be stressful, and sometimes even more so in the busy summer months. Last summer, travel rates were high, with people itching to get back out there after years of COVID-19 restrictions. Are post-COVID-19 crowds and inflation prices behind us as we approach the summer 2023 travel season? Are there still any looming COVID-19 restrictions?

Flying: According to CNN, we’re still in the throes of inflation, with some airline fares expected to be up 50% from last year.

  • Data from travel site Hopper, provided to CNN, shows that U.S. domestic flights have increased by 20%. last year.
  • If you want to fly internationally, expect to pay up. Flights to the U.K. are up 36% from last year and flights to some Asian countries are up 50%.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that airlines expect a busy summer travel season. However, it’s not expected to be as busy as last summer, Southwest Chief Executive Bob Jordan told the Journal.
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Driving: Planning on a road trip? Even with a switch to the summer blend of fuel, gas prices are expected to get higher this summer.

  • Reuters stated that fuel stockpiles are heading to record lows right as peak driving season is approaching, which may cause a spike in pricing.
  • CNET predicts that gas prices could hit $4 a gallon this summer in some parts of the U.S., which is still a break from the record high prices of summer 2022. These prices were predicted after Russia announced that it will be decreasing fuel production by 500,000 barrels daily.
  • Summer can also mean that people are likely to hit the roads at higher frequencies. If you want to avoid the crowds, USA Today reported that the busiest travel days are usually Fridays and holidays in the summer months.
  • If possible, try leaving earlier in the week or a few days before the holidays to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

Lodging: According to Yahoo, the Hilton hotel chain reported an increase of 30% in room prices.

  • This data is consistent through online travel booking sites, which have seen a 26% increase in hotel prices, according to CNBC.
  • Despite the flack Airbnb has gotten for recent high booking prices, the company reported that they plan to keep a tight lid on this year's fees, according to Reuters.

COVID-19 restrictions: Even though most countries have opened for travel and airlines have dropped mask mandates, many countries require proof of vaccination upon entry.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that full COVID-19 vaccination is required upon entry into the U.S. for noncitizens.
  • If traveling to China, Hong Kong or Macau, even U.S. citizens must provide a negative COVID-19 test upon entry to the U.S., per Forbes.
  • If you’ve been in any of the aforementioned countries or have flown through Seoul, Toronto,or Vancouver, you’ll also need a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the U.S.
  • In order to enter Indonesia or Turks and Caicos, travelers need to be fully vaccinated.
  • The following countries require negative COVID-19 test results for unvaccinated travelers: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname, Uruguay, Japan and the Philippines, Forbes stated.