Staycation, road trips could be out of reach for some this summer

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have lifted many, Albertans can’t wait to start travelling again, but experts warn no matter the type of vacation get ready to pay more.

“I’m sure people are going to be travelling less than they normally be because of higher gas prices, higher prices from restaurants, at hotels, things like that,” said Alexander Gainer, an economist at the University of Alberta.

Gas prices are up 48 per cent over May of last year, and why Changwoo Hwang decided to camp close to home.

“My plan was to go to Banff or Jasper for some hiking or climbing but as you know gas prices are too high,” he laughed. “If I fill my truck it’s over $200.”

It’s not just the pumps where people are paying a lot more. According to Statistics Canada, accommodations have increased 40 per cent.

“Hotel prices were really cheap, low in May 21 because we had tighter COVID restrictions and now they’re coming back to normal but it’s still a big jump and people are going to feel it and it’ll impact their travel plans likely,” said Gainer.

He said rising food prices also mean eating out is more expensive.

“Those prices are up 6.8 per cent so that’s a big jump,” Gainer said.

Even airfare is up 11.6 per cent relative to last year.

Gainer said many factors are at play including the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine and supply chain issues.

“It’s very tough to predict anything right now. Most economists including our central bank, the Bank of Canada expects them to start to taper off the end of this year and level out by the end of next year,” he said.