Jun 3, 2022 - News

Washington's sweet revenge summer travel

Illustration of a suitcase with a dollar sign shaped arms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After two years of being cooped up at home, Washingtonians are no-holds-barred for summer vacations this year.

Why it matters: Even when accounting for inflation, travelers with means are willing to spend more to make up for lost trips earlier in the pandemic, but deep pockets won’t guarantee a frictionless getaway. Staffing shortages are impacting transportation, excursions, and virtually everything else.

What’s happening: Alisa Cohen, founder of Luxe Traveler Club, a D.C.-based boutique travel agency, says travel “is at the highest that we have seen in quite a while, way more than pre-COVID.” Her clients are largely decamping to Europe: Italy, Italy, Italy.

Details: Private tours and excursions are a must-do for many, a change Cohen partially attributes to COVID. “People don’t want to go and wait in line for three hours with a thousand people, they’d rather spend more and be able to have a smaller, more curated experience.”

  • As in: an early morning private Vatican tour, private boat trips in Capri, private shopping tours in Rome.
  • Her agency has planned “many more” trips this summer than it did pre-pandemic, with price tags into the six figures — some “well into the six figures,” Cohen says. 

“Nostalgia travel,” where people return to places they’ve visited before, is a thing this year, too. 

  • And multigenerational trips with extended family members.

Zoom out: Getting out of town will likely pose challenges, though. Backups at airports over Memorial Day weekend, including at DCA, are expected to be a preview of what’s to come this summer.

Labor shortages across the board are causing carriers to rethink their summer schedules, Axios’ Joann Muller writes.

  • Almost all major U.S. airlines have proactively cut flights, some by as much as 15%.
  • It doesn't take long for a staff shortage in one airport to ripple across the entire country, given the complexity of the national air traffic system.

Cohen’s got all her summer travel bases covered with Israel, the south of France, Turkey, and Bora Bora on her itinerary.


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