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Prices soaring high for summer travel

Plane tickets and gas prices are a source of sticker shock.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Summer travel season is in full swing. Millions of people are booking flights or hitting the road, but travelers will be shelling out more dollars for their summer vacations.

According to online travel agency Hopper, domestic airfares are 34% higher compared to this time in 2019.

The rising costs of jet fuel, lower seat capacity, and increased demand are major factors.

“Flying home to see some family on Wednesday in Indianapolis and it’s going to be double the amount that I have paid in the past,” said Brooke Jackson.

Travelers like her aren’t letting higher airfares steer them away from their vacation plans.

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“We needed to go, need to see some family, so we bit the bullet,” Jackson continued.

On top of that is inflation; it’s the highest it’s been since1981 rising to 8.6% in May.

The pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the United States' refining capacity all play a role in driving prices up.

“The Russian war in Ukraine, it's not going to end anytime soon. Even if it does, countries aren't probably going to rush back into Russia to do business,” said Patrick De Haan, head petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy. “The other issue is that we've lost about a million barrels a day, or 5% of the nation's total refining capacity, from the start of 2019. So as demand has surged for the summer, there's less ability to produce as much gasoline diesel and jet fuels that the economy needs, and everything's booming.”

You can expect to see high prices across the board.

“You can't find a seat on a flight, if you do it's $1,000,” said De Haan. “You go to the grocery store and you can see the higher price of diesel hitting the price of goods, and then gasoline -- it just doesn't end.”

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Meanwhile, for road trippers, the national average for regular gas is currently $5, according to AAA. The average in North Carolina is $4.67. In South Carolina, it’s $4.61.

“We are staying in a little more and not eating out as often to reduce any extra spending as we can,” said Sarah Beres, a traveler.

However, people are finding ways to save a few bucks and keep their vacation plans in tack.

“We stayed at a place like at an Airbnb, but it was a condo rented out like a hotel,” explained Beres. “It was much cheaper than what we would have spent at a hotel.”

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Jackson has one piece of advice: plan ahead and book early.

“I looked on Monday for prices for a flight and I checked later that day and it went up,” said Jackson. “So in my opinion when you know you are going to book, pick a day and book it.”

It's a price she is willing to pay to spend time with loved ones.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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