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How is Inflation Affecting Holiday Travel?

      an individual puts gas in their car's tank while using their Academy Bank Rewards checking account gas savings rewards.

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and Thanksgiving dinner is on our minds. However, something is different this year. New ingredients have been added to the mix: inflation, soaring rent, and unpredictable gas prices. Plus, the ongoing Middle East conflict adds another layer of uncertainty while we worry about its potential impact on their finances. 

As the holiday season approaches, countless families are experiencing financial stress due to budget concerns and economic uncertainty. But we can’t stop the holidays from coming. Alongside typical expenses like Thanksgiving dinner and purchasing holiday gifts, people must also factor in travel costs. In this blog, we will unpack American travel trends, shifting priorities, and how you can save money during this time.

How are Americans traveling this year?

Thanksgiving is widely known as the busiest travel time of the year. In 2022, over 54.6 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving, with 48.7 million choosing to drive to their destinations. However, due to inflation and economic uncertainty this year, a recent survey indicates that 77% of holiday travelers are changing their plans, often opting for road trips instead of flying. Even as they make adjustments, many people are concerned about accumulating debt to cover holiday expenses.

How do Americans spend their money?

Despite concerns about inflation, debt, and rising travel expenses, experts still predict that 2023 might be the busiest holiday travel season since 2019. This is happening because people are now emphasizing connections and meaningful experiences more than material possessions or saving money. As Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate, explains, “When it comes to travel and dining, and concerts and sporting events, people are still really prioritizing those kinds of expenses.” 

Americans place great importance on creating memorable experiences, especially when traveling with family and friends. People are no longer willing to postpone these experiences, even if it means accumulating credit card debt. They are placing higher value on cherished moments—like enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family or unwrapping gifts at Grandma's house—rather than worrying about financial burdens. Despite the cost of the holidays and living expenses, Americans are determined to return to the feeling of the Holidays pre-pandemic. 

Ways to save money during the holidays

If you want to travel this holiday season, go for it! Book that flight or hit that road with confidence. There are countless opportunities to keep extra cash in your wallet, so you can spend it on what truly matters to you. We’re here to help you make the most of your journey.

For those planning road trips, Academy Bank’s new Fuel Savings1 program is the secret ingredient to keeping more money in your pocket. This exclusive perk, available to Select Rewards Checking account holders, lets you enjoy a 5¢/gal discount on every refuel at participating Shell stations.

Plus, our Select Rewards checking offers more than just fuel savings. It provides a gateway to saving money on experiences, making it ideal for creating memorable holiday moments with your loved ones. This includes discounts on movies, theme parks, airfare, and even hotel bookings. 

And for those who want to explore additional ways to cut costs, you’re in luck. Take advantage of online budget calculators to see how much money you have left to save and where your money is being spent. 

While the holiday season can bring its share of stress, you always have the power to make your money work for you, ensuring a memorable and budget-friendly holiday.


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