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Summer travel boom expected as vacation spots book up

People looking for affordable hotels and rentals cars may already be out of luck.

SEATAC, Wash. — The Sunday rush at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is now a stark contrast to where things were in 2020 when the airport reported travel was down 90%, and it's expected things will stay busy as most Americans plan to take a trip this summer. 

The U.S. Travel Association says 72% of Americans plan to take a summer trip. The quick increase in travelers means affordable places to stay and rentals cars are booking up.

"About a month ago when we went down to San Jose, the whole rental car garage was almost empty. They didn't have inventory," said Dan Duplantier, who was traveling home from California.

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Rental car companies sold inventory to stay afloat through the pandemic. Now many who are looking to travel to more remote locations, like national parks, are struggling to find vehicles. 

CNBC reports some of the most expensive cities for rental cars are Bozeman, Montana; Charleston, South Carolina; and Kahului, Hawaii.

Right now travelers searching for rentals in Hawaii on the Seattle-based travel website KAYAK will see vehicles are renting for upwards of $700. 

Places to stay are also becoming a challenge. 

In Seattle, Airbnb shows 65% of its rentals are booked for Memorial Day weekend. 

Expedia's Vrbo says travelers are once again taking full vacations instead of weekend getaways. 

"We're planning to go to Austin next month, and normally my friends would do an Airbnb, but we're planning to do a hotel, because I think everything is kind of booked up," said traveler Olivia Tuttle.

Vrbo says destinations with the most stays of at least seven nights on Vrbo this summer include:

  1. Outer Banks, N.C.

  2. Oak Island and Southport, N.C.

  3. Cape Cod, Mass.

  4. Rehoboth Beach and Fenwick Island, Del.

  5. Jersey Shore, N.J.

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