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Airfare Is WAY More Expensive Now

I’m going to need a new strategy.

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ASTORIA, New York City- “Why are you going to Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is boring. What are you planning on doing, boring your readers?”

That was my wife’s response when I told her I was going to Puerto Rico for no reason. Well, I actually explained it all in more detail … I mentioned the things that I blogged about yesterday and how I’m getting ready to get back on the Silk Road. I also shared with her how much money this blog makes us per year and how it’s a good idea to invest in it every once in a while.

But she wasn’t having it. So today I looked for flights into the heart of Eurasia and was shocked at what I found: the prices were two to three times what they were before the “pandemic.” I was floored. Was there something wrong with my Skyscanner app? I used to be able to get to places like Astana, Almaty, Yerevan, Warsaw, Belgrade for $300-$500. Now, no way.

It wasn’t just me.

From ThriftyTraveler.com:

Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index shows a 25.6% increase in airfare from last January to January 2023. That means right now, on average, Americans are paying a quarter more for flights than they did a year ago. And, that year-over-year number has been even higher in previous months.

There are many things to blame: higher fuel prices due to the war in Ukraine, higher demand from passengers who are rediscovering travel again, less business travelers (which impacts the prices for everyone), and probably less flights due to the lack of pilots due to them being encouraged to retire early at the beginning of the pandemic and then the vaccine mandates.

Expensive flights to Astana

To the chagrin of my wife, I may be spending a lot of time in Puerto Rico these days…

Or adopt some strategies that I don’t usually do … such as planning and booking flights early, looking for deals, doing all the things that normal travelers do …


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Filed under: Air Travel

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3719 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

4 comments… add one

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  • Matt May 3, 2023, 5:54 pm

    It’s great to hear that you’ll be returning to Asia. Will you be covering projects in China or any of the ASEAN nations? I’m curious to know your opinion on Chinas post-pandemic growth strategy. From what I’ve read, some analyst predict that China’s debt fueled big infrastructure projects will slow down and shift more to digital infrastructure. Others predict that they could return to their old growth strategy as land sales remain a key source of revenue for local governments. ?
    Anyway; looking forward to your work

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    • VBJ May 4, 2023, 11:15 am

      Thank you! No, can’t go back to China. But I will continue going to other countries around there. It seems to me as if China had already gained footholds in the places they wanted prior to the pandemic, so they were already moving on to the next phases of the endeavor. So you’re definitely right about their big acquisitions tapering off and way less new grandiose projects. The vanity phase of the BRI is over. It gets much less sexy from here.

      While I think they will continue pushing digital infrastructure, I don’t really see a boom coming. Part of the early success of the BRI came from corrupt governments cashing in on land sales. They can’t bank as much from digital products / services. I don’t see China going back to their previous methods anytime soon — they seemed to realize that it’s much more difficult developing projects in countries that actually abide by economic fundamentals and have polarized, vacillating democracies. But I would expect them to slowly and continuously build out their current footholds. Nobody is going to really notice this so much. One day there will just be fully operating port cites all over the place and everyone will just think they were always there.

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      • Matt May 5, 2023, 4:11 pm

        Wow, thank you for the response. Yeah, it seems a lot of plans are in place for these projects and the countries involved want them more than before. Whatever China’s new economic strategy is I’m sure will be totally unique to what we’ve seen in the past. I will be keeping an eye on Indonesia (China has recently completed the first part of Java’s HSR), there is so much potential there!

      • VBJ May 6, 2023, 8:21 pm

        Yes, Indonesia is booming! Relatively speaking, it’s a remarkably competent country and you’re right about it’s potential.