Cost to get away expected to rise as travel picks up

PITTSBURGH — Travel is picking up -- and so will the cost of it -- as COVID-19 cases drop and more people get vaccinated.

After being cooped up for the last year, people are looking to fly. In particular, they are looking to travel internationally.

The European Commission says fully vaccinated Americans can go to Europe this summer. Hopper reports that Ireland, Greece and Portugal are the hottest international summer destinations for vaccinated people.

International travel searches have spiked, but officials stress that people should still be extremely cautious.

People should also prepare for a surge in prices, officials say. As demand rises, airlines will boost their ticket fees.

Pittsburghers like Cait Morgan have seen it firsthand.

“I booked these way ahead of time and got really good prices, and then they changed the flight. So, then I was rebooking and everything was like $500 a ticket. Luckily, I had booked so they kept me at the same price, but I was freaking out because things were $500 a ticket and I can’t pay that,” Morgan said.

Hopper expects round trip international airfares to jump by 8% in May, peaking at $800. So, people who are booking should look into a “flexible date” option to save as much money as possible.

“So that’s a really good way to kind of lock in those low prices now and then, upon the country reopening, that you can actually take that trip,” Adit Damodaran, an economist for Hopper, said.

When it comes to cruises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they could start to pick back up in mid-July.

A number of conditions will be in place for cruises, including the requirement that 98% of crew and 95% of passengers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The CDC will also update its testing and quarantine requirements. Vaccinated people can simply take a rapid test if they’ve been exposed.

Cruise ship operators can now enter into a multi-port agreement. Previously, it was only one port.