2023 Summer Travel Outlook

International travelers prepare for sticker shock as airfare prices rise highest in 5 years.

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Hayley Berg - Mon May 08 2023

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  • Current domestic airfare is averaging $306 per ticket, down 19% from last year and up only 6% compared to summer 2019. 

  • Airfare to Europe and Asia this summer is already the highest it’s been in more than 5 years, with trips to Europe averaging over $1,100 per ticket and trips to Asia averaging over $1,800 per ticket. Both have increased more than $300 per ticket compared to last summer.

Relief on Airfare for Domestic Trips this Summer

Travelers headed on vacation to destinations in the US are in for a pleasant surprise this year. With higher capacity available from airlines this summer and relief on jet fuel prices, domestic airfares are down nearly 20% compared to this time last year. Current domestic airfare is averaging $306 per ticket, down 19% from last year and up only 6% compared to summer 2019. 

Good deal airfare as of 1 week ending May 1st, 2023 compared to the same week in historical years. 

Fares will peak for 4th of July weekend

This summer holiday weekends are expected to be busy, with many Americans taking advantage of the longer weekend for a getaway or to start a longer vacation. Airfare will be the most expensive for 4th of July weekend trips this year, with domestic trips averaging $349 per ticket, up 17% from 2019 but down 17% from their peak at $420 per ticket last summer. Memorial Day weekend trips are averaging $274 today, but are likely to spike in next month as the unofficial kickoff to summer approaches. Labor Day weekend flights are averaging $283 per domestic ticket and are likely to remain low for just a few more weeks- if you haven’t booked your LDW trip yet, now may be the right time. 

For those travelers still planning summer trips, avoid these peak weekends if possible to save on airfare and potential long lines and disruption at the airport.

International Airfares continue to Surge

Airfare to Europe and Asia this summer is already the highest it’s been in more than 5 years. Trips to Europe are currently averaging $1,167 per ticket for summer departures, 36% more expensive than last year or about $317 per ticket. Trips to Asia, a region in high demand this summer, have increased by $350 per ticket to $1,817 on average, up 62% compared to pre pandemic. 

Demand, Costs and Low Supply Drive International Airfare High this Summer

  • Demand: International airfare is surging as the first full summer of open international travel approaches! Last summer demand was primarily focused on domestic trips, as travel restrictions and testing requirements limited access to some countries, while tourism to others remained completely closed. Demand for international trips continues to outpace last summer, especially among Hopper’s millennial and gen z user base. At this time last year 32% of searches for summer trips on Hopper were for international destinations, compared to 38% today- representing a 19% increase. High demand will continue to push up airfare on top routes. 

  • Costs: Jet Fuel prices are a considerable cost for airlines and remain about 16% higher than pre pandemic levels. Though fuel costs have improved considerably in the last 15 months, prices remain the highest they’ve been since late 2014. Higher fuel costs will continue to put upward pressure on airfares, especially on expensive long haul international routes. 

  • Low Supply: Despite high demand for summer trips abroad, airline seat capacity remains below 2019 levels, with 94% of seats recovered in June and 96% recovered in July. Lower expected supply combined with high demand for trips this summer will continue to put upward pressure on prices. 

Summer Travel Disruption

Disruption peaked last summer in late June, with an average of 3% of flights canceled and 23% delayed on departure. Single day cancellation rates peaked over 8% of US departing flights due to over scheduling by airlines and understaffing across the industry. This summer airlines and airports have increased staffing and scheduled more realistically, but disruptions should still be expected. 

Today, delay rates are tracking at or below 2022 levels and cancellation rates remain consistently below 2022 highs. However, summer is the busiest season of the year and will mark the first full summer season with airlines operating more capacity than in 2019. Travelers should still prepare for seasonal disruptions in the order of ~2% departing flights canceled and ~20% of departing flights delayed, with the highest rates in June and early July. 

Unexpected disruptions drive a high level of stress for travelers, and many are looking to protection products to insure their trips. Instead of changing plans or choosing not to travel, many Hopper customers are spending a little more to protect their travel purchases. Today, almost one in five travelers booking flights on Hopper add  Flight Disruption Guarantee, protecting them from delays, cancellations or missed connections. If your trip is delayed or you miss your connection, you can instantly rebook the next flight to their destination in the app – no matter the airline – at no additional cost. 


Prices for accommodations this summer are rising, with hotels averaging $237 per night, up 11% from this time last year. Top destinations for summer accommodations are seeing price increases ranging from +4% to +51% compared to this time last year. 

Rental homes continue to be an attractive option for customers looking for extra space. Florida is a hot spot, with travelers in Orlando paying an average of $360 per night to be close to Disney World and travelers in Miami paying an average of $308 per night to be close to sandy beaches. 

Car Rentals

For those travelers hitting the road this summer, car rentals are currently averaging $46 per day, down 17% from this time last year. Most travelers are searching for rentals averaging 6 days, in line with last year. Top markets have seen prices drop compared to last year, with Orlando and Fort Lauderdale averaging under $30 per day on average on the Hopper app and Las Vegas and Los Angeles averaging just over $30 per day. 

Top Destinations for Summer 2023

This summer Americans planning trips in the US are planning trips to big cities and Disney! New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles top the list for highest demand cities in the US, along with Orlando and the adjacent Disney World. International travelers are hitting the most popular destinations in Europe (London, Paris, Rome), and looking to the west for trips to Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. 

Trending destinations in the US include a range of destinations offering beaches, mountains and everything in between. Trending international destinations are dominated by Asia, with Beijing, Taipei and Osaka and Bali making the top 10 ranking. Off the beaten track destinations in Europe also made the cut, with Montenegro, the Canary Islands and the Portuguese Azores. 

Deal Destinations for Summer 2023 

If you haven’t booked summer travel yet and you’re hoping to get a good deal, you’re in luck! Hopper will be running its Summer Sale on May 17-20th with exclusive discounts to many popular summer bucket-list destinations. You can find great deals in the Hopper app to 50 popular domestic and international destinations.

Summer Sale Destinations (Sampling): 

  • Venice, Italy - ($100 off flights & 25% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Maldives - ($100 off flights & 25% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Ho Chi Minh City - ($100 off flights & 25% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Santorini, Greece - ($100 off flights & 25% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Rome, Italy - ($60 off flights & 20% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Lisbon, Portugal - ($75 off flights when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Milan, Italy - ($75 off flights when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • Tokyo, Japan - ($60 off flights & 20% off hotels  when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

  • London, UK - ($50 off flights & 25% off hotels when you book during Hopper’s Summer Sale)

Summer Travel Tips:

  • Book ASAP! - If you haven’t booked summer plans yet, you’ll want to do so as soon as possible. Prices are expected to rise in the coming weeks. Now is the sweet spot for getting a good deal. In general, we recommend domestic travelers book 3-4 months in advance for the best prices and availability. For international travelers, we recommend booking 3-5 months ahead of departure date.

  • If you’re not ready to book, freeze a price - If you see a good deal but you need more time to plan, take advantage of tools like Hopper’s Price Freeze, which allows you to lock in a low price when you see one and book at a later date.

  • Fly mid-week to save ~$100 off your trip - Travelers who fly in the middle of the week (Tuesday or Wednesday) can save an average of 17% or $56 per ticket on domestic airfare.

  • Consider the fall “Shoulder Season” instead - For those who are eyeing international destinations this summer but may be experiencing some sticker shock, we recommend considering the fall shoulder season instead as you can find some great deals, particularly to Europe, in September. You can save as much as 30% off peak summer prices just by traveling in September versus peak summer months, like July and August!

  • Add trip protection - Delays and cancellations plagued travelers last summer with higher than normal levels of airline disruptions. We recommend adding trip protection, like Hopper’s Flight Disruption Guarantee, which allows you to rebook instantly on any airline carrier if your flight gets delayed, canceled or you miss a connecting flight. 

  • Book the first flight of the day - Getting out first thing is the safest bet, if you want to avoid delays and cancellations. Flights departing after 9am are 2X more likely to be delayed than departures scheduled between 5-8am. To avoid travel disruption, fly as early in the morning as possible – especially during the busy summer months.

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