SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The challenges with traveling this summer have been focused on COVID rules, mask wearing, and having issues with crowds. That, however, is not the bottom line.
If you have looked at hotel room prices and found them unusually high, you are seeing what the average American traveler is facing these days.
Travel analysts across the board have seen increases in room rates as much as 44 percent compared to a year earlier.
The posted room rate is the price before the local sales and bed taxes which could be, combined, another 20 percent.
Now in the heart of summer, some travelers who are looking at room rates, say it is hard to find any overnight room for under $300. Only a handful are out there and they are usually mid-week.
Some of the higher-end properties with ocean views and suites along the Santa Barbara coast can run $600 to $5,000 or more a night depending on the size of the room, amenities and length of stay.
Some suites at premier locations are higher.
Vacationers who are traveling on a budget are taking this into consideration.
“We decided that once we saw the original hotel pricing we would do a vacation rental,” said Leslie Williams from Seattle.
She was biking on a family trip with Erin Ganju who said, “we were looking for something under $500. We know it was harder to find something that was reasonable.”
One visitor in Santa Barbara has staying in Northern California on her vacation and also on this trip in Solvang.
Hotel room rates were, ” more than I expected and we also came back from staying in Napa and Sonoma and there’s sticker shock there for sure. That’s why we are here. We actually much prefer to be down here,” said Amanda McAuley.
Travelers also tells us in addition to the cost of a hotel room, if they are driving, they have to take into consideration the rental car cost. The prices are up and the availability has gone down plus fuel prices in the last year have gone up.
Ganju said, they are making several decisions to save money and be COVID-safe. “We’re doing take out so with the safety these days it’s nice to have options and be in smaller groups and it was nice for us to have our own back yard.”
Her daughter Julia said, “we have a grill, a hot tub, outside seating more space to hang out. “
It worked for the family trip. Williams said, “we wanted a bigger space and not just adjoining hotel rooms we wanted more of a family space plus individual bedrooms.”
There are ways to save in one area if you are paying more for a room than you expected.
It’s suggested you stay close to where you are going to explore or recreate.
Take advantage of credit card deals, use points through rewards programs, and travel on weekdays.
It’s also a benefit to enjoy the hotel breakfast as one of your meals when it’s provided for free.
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