Inflation and a slowing economy don’t seem to be cutting into holiday travel demand. Earlier this month, AAA estimated that nearly 113 million people would travel 50 miles from home or more between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s 4% higher than last year, although still short of the record 119 million in 2019. Most planned to travel by car. About 6% will travel by air.
Meanwhile, the average round-trip airfare has risen 22% to $397 in the second quarter of this year — the most recent period available — according to U.S. government data. That was higher than overall U.S. price inflation, which peaked at 9% in June. The Federal Aviation Administration is expecting Thursday to be the busiest travel day of the week, with 47,554 scheduled flights. On Friday, more than 44,300 flights are scheduled. But this Christmas weekend might be the coldest in decades.The National Weather Service predicts a high impact storm so large and encompassing that around 190 million people are already under some type of winter weather advisory, which is likely to have a big impact on travel plans.