Taking the road less traveled this summer may be the best way to save money, according to one travel expert, and that means skipping the beaches and mountains for major cities instead.
“Demand is really at an all-time high and just about all markets predict that — except in major cities,” Jamie Lane, AirDNA’s vice president of research, recently told Yahoo Finance Live. “You might want to think instead of Cape Cod, go to Boston, and instead of the lower Hudson Valley, maybe go to New York.”
After more than a year spent social distancing, bookings in popular tourist destinations show that American appetite for travel is strong. But when everyone is clamoring to vacation at the same places crowds and peak pricing inevitably follow.
“If you look at beach or mountain destinations, demand is 20% or 30% higher than we’ve seen prior to the pandemic and with that comes high rates,” Lane said.
Read more: Travel scams: Here’s how to protect yourself
That has tipped the scales to favorable “pricing power to the owners” of short-term rentals. Despite the higher costs, though, the average traveler’s palate is more refined this summer and Americans are more willing to pay for comfort.
“People are wanting nicer places,” he said. “The more luxurious accommodations are booking much quicker and that’s maybe a little bit surprising given that we’re still in the middle of a recession.”
Features like pools, kitchens, and hot tubs are in demand, while guests are also seeking larger units with three or four bedrooms to accommodate more guests.
If you’re looking to book a short-term rental for the summer now, you could be out of luck. There’s only so much room for throngs of tourists in summer hotspots before the “spillover demand” leads people to cities because certain “destinations don’t have any availability,” Lane forecasts.
“It might be too late, depending on where you want to go,” Lane said. “Markets like Panama City and Hilton Head are already over 80% occupied for this summer.”
Try the Big Apple or the Windy City, instead.