For many, this summer is THE time to travel, since vacations have been on hold for the past couple of years and now a lot of COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed. We’ve seen some big crowds in Disney World, and tourist destinations all over the world are in high demand. But the itch to get out and travel hasn’t hit everyone, and even some people who want to get out and vacation are putting their plans on hold for a while longer.
There are still plenty of reasons to not travel this summer, including health concerns, inflated prices, and limited capacity at tourist spots. But what are the BIGGEST reasons why you’re staying home instead of packing your suitcase? We asked you on Facebook, and now we’ve got the results!
Over the last couple of years, a lot of travelers put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic both because of health concerns and travel restrictions. But are the same concerns still prevalent now? We asked our readers, “If you AREN’T planning on traveling this summer, what’s your biggest reason?” And according to their responses on Facebook, COVID-19 isn’t actually a major reason for skipping their summer 2022 vacation.
In fact, several readers specified that they’re no longer concerned about COVID due to vaccinations, improved health & safety procedures, and simply the length of time that has passed. Now, different issues have come up that make travel almost as difficult as it was a couple of years ago, albeit for very different reasons.
Here are the main reasons that you’re staying HOME instead of heading out on vacation this summer:
When we think of going out somewhere expensive, we usually imagine fancy restaurants and luxury shopping centers. But now, just GETTING to those destinations is a pricey endeavor in itself! In fact, the average price of a gallon of gas in the US exceeded $5 recently, which is the highest it’s EVER been, according to CNN.
One reader said, “We’re traveling, but we’re cutting our road trip short because of gas prices.” Another shared a similar sentiment: “The cost of gas has shortened our trip.” And a third summed up the problem very neatly: “gas $$$$$$$.”
Gas prices have been on the rise since around March 2022. We saw a dip in prices around April, and in May the national average for a gallon was $4.19. Since then, we’ve seen a steady increase in prices, which has impacted both road trippers and ride-share drivers and users.
Now, US drivers are looking at an average of $5.01 per gallon of gas, according to AAA. If you need to fill your tank a few times during a road trip, that adds up QUICK.
You might think that there’s an easy solution to this problem: just skip the car ride and hop on a plane instead! But it turns out that form of transportation comes with even MORE problems.
Flight Prices and Cancelations
Just like gas prices, flight prices are trending upwards right now. Airplanes need fuel too, after all. And with the demand for travel on the rise, ticket prices are getting higher.
One reader commented that it’s just “way too expensive to fly anywhere right now.” And another shared that “the cost of flying is easily what is deterring [them] at the moment.”
From our research, we’ve seen the average price to fly to Disney World increase significantly over the past few months. In May, the average ranged from $347.07 (on the cheaper side) to $981.22 (for more expensive options). Jump to July, and the average is currently looking like $510.50 for cheaper flights up to $1,156.41 for the expensive ones. That’s an increase of between $163.43 and $175.19.
But beyond the increase in prices, flight cancelations are making even more travelers wary of booking their trips. One of our readers commented that airports “cannot cope with the demand since travel restrictions have been lifted,” and the reader “[doesn’t] want to book a flight to have it be one of the hundreds canceled that day.”
Another reader shared that they’ve already had problems with flight cancelations: “We had planned to go to Seattle to pick up an Alaskan cruise. Delta canceled our flight in the middle of the night and we were stranded. Nothing from Delta then or since. We found out online.”
And yet another reader described the problems as “random flight cancelation bingo.”
Several problems contribute to the increase in cancelations, including fuel shortages, staffing issues, and overbooked schedules. But regardless of the reason for the issues, a lot of people are unwilling to pay the higher prices just to worry about a cancelation and potentially be stranded somewhere, waiting for an airplane to become available.
Increased Living Expenses
A third problem that many of our readers cited as the reason for their canceled vacations was the increased cost of living. According to the Wall Street Journal, “U.S. inflation accelerated to an 8.6% annual rate in May, its fastest pace in 41 years. Consumers are seeing prices rise sharply for a variety of goods and services as strong demand collides with persistent supply shortages.”
We’ve seen those supply shortages affect a variety of foods in Disney World, and they’re having just as hard of an impact on local grocery stores. Day-to-day expenses are increasing in price, which puts a strain on people’s budgets. One reader said, “Increased living expenses left no room in the budget for vacations.” Another agreed that “the cost of living is too high.”
And people are still recovering from the problems brought on by the pandemic as well. One reader said that their family is having a “no-spend June” in order to “work on paying off our debt.”
When budgets are trimmed down, vacation and leisure activities are often some of the first things to go since they’re not necessarily essential to daily living. For those looking to save some cash this year, canceling a summer trip is one of the easiest ways to do it.
Staffing Shortages Impacting Travel
We already mentioned that staffing shortages have affected flights as airlines struggle to keep enough staff to meet the travel demands. But other industries are having trouble keeping a full staff as well. One reader said, “Our daycare keeps closing due to low staffing,” which has caused the adults to use more of their paid time off from work in order to watch the kids, meaning there are fewer vacation days available.
A few other readers also cited problems with daycare and pet boarding facilities not having enough availability to meet their needs.
Hotels are another place where low staffing is leading to less availability and increased prices. Without enough workers to keep the whole hotel operational, some rooms might be closed for a while. And low capacity paired with high demand means that room prices can soar.
One reader said, “We wanted to go out of town last weekend but couldn’t find pet-friendly lodging for under $300 per night.”
Some readers also mentioned concerns about destinations not having as many amenities open due to staffing problems. Because they’ve seen businesses close locally due to the issues, they’re assuming (correctly) that this problem is happening elsewhere in the world.
CNBC reported that “shifts that have taken place in the labor market are becoming more pronounced, with many people voluntarily quitting roles just as demand for workers rises as economies reopen.” They also explained that “the problem is not just a U.S. one, with many countries around the world experiencing a shortage of workers.”
In waiting for the staffing problems to be sorted out, many people are hoping that their favorite travel destinations will have more businesses, restaurants, and shops open the next time they visit.
Overcrowded Tourist Areas
Has anyone else noticed that everyone on their Insta feed seems to be traveling right now? We already explained that many people are excited to travel now that COVID restrictions have relaxed, and the 2-year hiatus from travel has made some people eager to vacation despite the cost.
That travel boom has caused others to pull back in order to avoid the crowds at many tourist destinations. One reader said, “It’s way too people-y out there” (and we can confirm that Disney World is very people-y at the moment).
Another stated that “every place is crowded. Airports, restaurants, sites etc. Not really a COVID concern, I just hate being around too many people in general.”
If you’re looking to vacation without the crowds, this summer is not the time to do it. Waiting a while for the demand to die down a bit and for kids to return to school might be a better plan.
Just Happy to Stay Home!
In happier news, many readers were just excited to be home for the summer season! One reader said, “There’s so much stuff to do locally during the summer. I always save my vacations for the rest of the year.” Another commented that “it’s beautiful in Michigan in the summer. I can’t miss the gorgeous weather! We save our travel for times when the weather isn’t as nice.”
Specifically looking at Disney World, we can understand why the summer might not be your first choice when it comes to a vacation timeline. Florida gets HOT, and that paired with the unforgiving humidity is not ideal.
So What Should You Do?
If you’re still hoping to travel this summer but struggling with one or more of the above problems, make sure you look closely at all possible deals and discounts for the destination you’re planning to visit. Working with a good travel agent can help you save money, as they often will find those discounts for you.
Specifically for Disney World and Disneyland, we keep track of all the current discounts right here at DFB! Take a look here.
Several of our readers also mentioned that they opted for summer staycations instead of traveling! You can take a few days off work and plan some fun activities right where you live. That way you’ll save money while still getting a break from the everyday grind.
It’s clear that, while COVID is no longer the primary concern for many people, travel in 2022 is still a struggle. We’re here to help you out with the latest news about Disney discounts and changes, so keep following DFB!
Are you putting your summer vacation on hold this year? Let us know why in the comments!