Gen Zers are coming home for the holidays on mom and dad’s dime, study says

Personal Finance

Travel demand has surged this year, although not everyone can afford the sky-high tab.

Along with rising costs for hotels and rental cars, travelers can expect to pay up to 39% more for a round-trip flight around Christmas compared with last year, according to data from the travel booking app Hopper.

Young adults, in particular, are shifting their holiday getaway plans accordingly, a recent report found.

About half of Generation Z plan to travel home this holiday season. However, 41% will rely on their parents or family members to pay for their travel accommodations, according to a study by Credit Karma.

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High inflation is hitting holiday travel plans

One in 10 said they won’t travel home for the holidays because their parents can’t pay for it.

Inflation has made it even harder for those just starting out, who are now squeezed by the surging cost of living and sky-high rents.

Increasingly parents are chipping in — and not just over the holidays.

From buying food to paying for cell phone plans or covering health and auto insurance, half of parents with a child over 18 provide them with at least some financial support, according to a separate study by Savings.com.

These parents are shelling out roughly $1,000 a month, on average, on such expenses, the report found.

However, parents are also feeling stretched too thin.

Of all U.S. adults planning to travel, 79% are changing their plans due to high inflation, another Bankrate.com report found, including shortening their trips, choosing cheaper accommodations, traveling shorter distances or driving instead of flying.

How to save on holiday travel

Travelers walk through the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Detroit on Nov. 21, 2021.
Matthew Hatcher | Getty Images

“If you’re looking for ways to save on your ticket, consider booking travel on less ideal travel days,” advised Colleen McCreary, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma.

For example, travel on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to snag cheaper fares, she said. Otherwise, opt for smaller, regional airports instead of major hubs, cash in credit card miles or make a connection rather than fly nonstop.

“But really the best thing you can do is act fast,” McCreary said.

“Don’t wait to buy your airline tickets,” she cautioned. “Prices will not get better.”

CNBC’s Select also has a full roundup of tips to save money on your upcoming trips.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

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