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The Travel Costs Getting More Expensive This Summer — and the One Thing That's Becoming More Affordable

It might be time for a great American road trip.

<p>Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images</p>

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As you've probably noticed when planning your summer vacation, travel is not cheap these days. Overall, prices are soaring — flight prices are up 35 percent and hotels are up 5 percent compared to last year, according to a new Kayak report.

But there's one part of the travel world where prices are actually lower than anticipated: car rentals. Kayak found daily car rental prices to be 13 percent lower than they were last year. Considering the outrageous cost of car rentals over the past few years, this is a welcome change.

During the pandemic, the car rental industry had quite the roller coaster ride. In the early days, companies sold off much of their fleets to keep their businesses afloat when there was very little demand for car rentals. Then, everybody needed rental cars as domestic travel to remote outdoor areas resumed with gusto — but there was a severe shortage of rental cars. As such, rental car prices skyrocketed.

"The car shortage is finally declining and rental car companies have plenty of inventory making the overall process of renting a car this summer more accessible and affordable," Kayla Inserra, Kayak’s consumer travel trends expert, tells T+L.

While lower car rental prices means domestic road trips might be a budget-friendly vacation choice this summer, Kayak is not seeing as much demand there. International flight searches are up 42 percent, while domestic travel searches have decreased 2 percent on the platform.

If you're set on an international trip this summer, you'll have to do some extra research to find the best prices. "The farther out you can book, the better when it comes to international travel this summer. But, if your travel dates are flexible, there are still deals to be found," Inserra says. "Using Kayak’s Explore tool, I found flights to Copenhagen in July and Paris in August for under $500. You may have to fly midweek to get those prices, but with the rise of remote work, this is more feasible than ever before."

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