July 4 will be the most expensive travel weekend in years

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Jake the pent-up travel demand that is a hangover from the pandemic. Add in a shortage of pilots and a months-long war that continues to drive up gas prices, and you have the perfect storm for travelers over Independence Day weekend.

This July 4 is expected to be one of the priciest travel weekends in years, according to Hopper, the travel app for finding deals.

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Domestic airfares average $437 per round-trip ticket, up 45% from 2019. International flights cost up to $1,200 per ticket, up 31% from 2019.

Air travel prices are determined by supply and demand. Right now, demand is both above normal and supply below normal, as airlines continue to rebuild their networks after years of route cuts. Additionally, jet fuel prices are up 134% from 2019.

The average daily hotel rate in the United States is now $155.37, up 15.4% from 2019, according to the latest report from STR, a data analytics firm for the hospitality industry.

Rental cars average $66 a day in the United States, according to data from Hopper, and travelers can expect to pay more at the pumps this summer as well.

The national average per gallon Wednesday morning was $4.96, down more than a nickel from last week’s high of $5.02. Prices at the pump could drop further ahead of the holiday weekend as President Joe Biden considers a federal gasoline tax exemption. That would mean another 18-cent drop in gasoline prices, officials said.

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Procrastinators who are still hoping to get away for the holidays are running out of leads. “Most travelers have booked their flights for the long weekend five to six weeks in advance, in late May and early June,” according to Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist. For travelers looking for the best possible price, timing can be important. “For the best prices on domestic travel, fly on Saturday of the long weekend and return Monday, July 4. Departing on Saturday instead of Thursday can save travelers $70 per ticket off peak prices,” she advises.

Unfortunately, Hopper’s analysis indicates that travelers are likely to have a bumpy holiday weekend due to flight disruptions. Already this month, 23% of scheduled flights departing from US airports have been delayed, according to Hopper. That’s up 17% just since May.

The most disrupted airports last week? Chicago Midway, Newark and Baltimore.

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