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Viewpoint: The 2023 summer travel season outlook

Boise-based travel writer and speaker Stuart Gustafson explains why travel season will be busier and more expensive.

BOISE, Idaho — Memorial Day has come and gone. It's the unofficial start of summer and the start of the summer travel season. The kids are out of school, and it's time to go somewhere.

Were you one of the millions who hit the road or took to the skies over the holiday weekend? As the pandemic restrictions and fears fade into memory, more and more people are getting away from it all.

Numbers are expected to be way up over last year. Heading into the Memorial Day weekend AAA estimated 42.3 million Americans would travel by car or plane 50 miles or more from home. That is 2.7 million more than 2022, a 7% increase.
After the four-day weekend the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) did, in fact, report record travel screenings at the nation's airports. The TSA said nearly 9.8 million people went through check points. That is up by 300,000 compared to the Memorial Day holiday in 2019.

The TSA said the screening volume on the Friday before Memorial Day alone was about 2.7 million. That's the highest post pandemic single day record.
So what does this all mean going forward for the rest of the summer? Boise-based travel writer and speaker Stuart Gustafson sums up the outlook for the travel season in a few words, "busier and more expensive."

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

"People are tired of staying at home," Gustafson said. "They want to get out."

Doug Petcash: It's that cabin fever effect, isn't it?

Gustafson: Oh yeah, I've been stuck here, and I want to go. It's also more expensive, and not just inflation, a lot more expensive.

Petcash: What is driving up the costs?

Gustafson: You can say typical inflation, but it's also the fact that with the pandemic many travel-related businesses shut down, cut back, rental cars were nonexistent because people weren't traveling. They weren't renting cars. They sold off the cars. So the infrastructure is not there and you can't just build it overnight.

Gustafson said planes are filling up fast, and it's going to be tough to find a deal on flights.

On this edition of Viewpoint, Gustafson lays out what will be some of the issues flying travelers might encounter and when's the best time to book a trip. He also gives some tips for planning, booking and actually enjoying your travels. Those include packing so you never have to check a bag, and even dealing with pickpockets at European train stations.

Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o'clock on KTVB Idaho's NewsChannel 7.

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