Americans spent a lot of money on holiday travel this year. You're probably thinking yeah, yeah, of course we did. Holiday travel is always a big money-suck, and you're not wrong. However, this year the amount is especially jarring. According to Hopper, an app that analyzes plane ticket prices and alerts travelers when they should buy, American travelers spent $1.8 billion — yes, billion with a "B" — on holiday airfare in 2018.
If you looked into flying somewhere for the holidays but immediately abandoned the plan when you got a glimpse of ticket prices, it might feel validating to learn that Hopper has projected that Americans will spend 6% more on Christmas air travel this year than we did in 2017.
This increase can't really be blamed on a boost in airplane trips, according to Hopper, because the total number of trips planned only increased by about 7% from 2017's holiday season to 2018's. That's relatively stable. The increase in how much Americans spent on air travel this holiday season compared to last year also can't be attributed to domestic travel price increases since the average price for domestic holiday trips actually dropped from $336 last year to $304 this year.
So what's responsible for the amount Americans spent on holiday air travel jumping from $1.7 billion in 2017 to $1.8 billion in 2018? Hopper says it's international ticket prices. International airfare from the U.S. increased by an average of $66. During 2017's holiday season, international plane tickets cost an average of $1,067, and this holiday season the average price was around $1,133. While that's not exactly a comforting thought, at least you know you're not the only one who may have spent more to travel for the holidays this year.