LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

Like many things, travel costs have gone up in recent years. Everything from airfare and hotel accommodations to car reservations and event tickets has gotten more expensive, something that’s required many people to increase their travel budgets or alter their travel plans.

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Even higher-income households that may enjoy an annual or biannual trip with the family are starting to shy away from some of the traditionally popular vacation destinations. While there are still ways to afford these trips, here are the top places that many middle-class individuals now struggle to afford.

QuekZongYe / Getty Images/iStockphoto

QuekZongYe / Getty Images/iStockphoto


Hawaii is one of the most popular travel destinations, as well as one that’s becoming too expensive.

Aida Mollenkamp, travel planner and founder of Salt & Wind Travel, noted that many of her agency’s clients are starting to struggle with Hawaii’s costs.

“The major issue is that hotel rates, meals and tours are more expensive than before. Historically, our clients have been between a boutique four-star and five-star traveler, but have largely had to go down a class in hotels to meet their budget,” said Mollenkamp. “We now suggest they budget at least $800 per day for lodging, transport, activities and food for a trip for 2 (but again, that will rarely cover a five-star these days).”

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In some places, the time of year impacts your trip’s costs. But this hasn’t been the case with Hawaii.

“We aren’t seeing as much seasonality in the hotel rates as we did pre-COVID,” said Mollenkamp. “Inflation and cost of living have hit Hawai’i hard the last few years, so the companies pass it through to make sure they can still pay competitive wages. Five-star hotels that used to cost around $500 per night are now starting at $800 per night in shoulder season.”

Specific places, like Maui, are even more expensive.

“Here, a week-long stay for a couple can reach approximately $4,200, which applies if you restrict your impulsive spending on dining, local activities, etc.,” said Justin Albertynas, expert traveler and CEO of travel-tech startup Ratepunk. “The reason behind it being an expensive destination can be summarized in one sentence: Many want to go there, but there are few places to stay.”

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bluejayphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

bluejayphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto


Italy isn’t much different from Hawaii in terms of how travel costs.

“Italy is a funny scenario because you can still do a more affordable trip if you go off the beaten path to say, Sicily or the Alps. However, many of our clients want at least part of their trip to hit a major tourism spot, be it Florence or the Amalfi Coast,” said Mollenkamp.

“The destinations have much longer high seasons than they used to — now extending from early May through October — and hotel rates reflect that,” said Mollenkamp. “I’d say, on average, we’ve seen hotels 2x in price in these areas compared to their pre-COVID rates.”

Other areas that have increased in price, Mollenkamp said. That includes private drivers, alternative lodgings like Airbnb and tours.

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The Maldives

The Maldives has long been a luxury destination, one that’s already at the high end of many travelers’ budgets. But it’s also become more expensive.

“Prices for a week-long stay in [an iconic overwater] villa can easily stretch into the thousands, influenced by factors such as the level of luxury, resort amenities, and seasonality,” said Albertynas. “While experienced travelers might occasionally snag hotel deals, dining costs, local activities, flights, and internal transfers can drastically inflate the overall expense of a vacation here.”

Flight prices alone can put the Maldives out of reach. You can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 on a single ticket. Multiply that by the number of people traveling with you and you’re already looking at a pricey vacation — without factoring in anything once you’re there.

mikeinlondon / Getty Images

mikeinlondon / Getty Images

Paris and London

While many parts of France and the U.K. are still affordable, top destinations like Paris and London are becoming less so for the typical middle-class family.

“Accommodation costs in central areas of these cities have surged, making it challenging for budget-conscious travelers to find affordable lodging options,” said Stephanie Webb, travel expert and Tripshepherd travel guide. “Additionally, dining out and admission fees for attractions have also seen considerable price hikes, contributing to the overall affordability challenge.”

Take Paris, for example.

“In Paris, the average cost of a hotel room in central areas can exceed $200 per night, with luxury accommodations reaching several hundred dollars or more,” said Webb. “Dining at renowned restaurants or visiting popular attractions like the Louvre Museum can also come with hefty price tags.”

In London, accommodations, food, and admission fees have also become increasingly expensive.

Maryviolet / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Maryviolet / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ways To Make These Destinations More Affordable

Just because these places are expensive, it doesn’t mean you can’t still go. You’ll need to plan accordingly, though. Here are a few tips to make your trip happen:

  • Start saving up ahead of time. Put aside a little extra money into a high-yield savings account each month until you have enough for the entire trip.

  • Create a travel budget. No matter where you’re going, it’s important to have a realistic budget that covers things like flights, accommodations, food, entertainment, souvenirs, and attractions.

  • Have flexibility in your schedule. If possible, go during the shoulder season or off-season. It might not always help, but it can often get you lower prices on hotels, flights, and the like.

  • Bundle your trip. Getting a vacation bundle that includes things like flights, accommodations, and rental vehicles or events could save you money overall.

  • Use a rewards card. Some credit cards offer rewards or bonuses in the form of miles or other travel perks. Just be sure to pay off your card every month before interest hits.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Vacation Destinations That Middle-Class Families Can’t Afford Anymore


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