How much more expensive will travelling be post-COVID-19?

How much more expensive will travelling be post-COVID-19?

Between the many vaccinated travel lanes, airline websites crashing amidst travel demand, and soaring energy prices, travelling post-COVID-19 will surely be more expensive than ever before.

The question is: how much more expensive will it be?

Let’s find out.

What are the main expenses in travelling?

The bulk of your travel costs are comprised of four things:

Of the four, the first and most important thing that you should buy is travel insurance.

“What? Nobody cares about travel insurance!”

Here’s why you should care though: it covers flight and accommodation cancellations should you get COVID-19 *before* your trip. Of course, that comes at a cost, which we will explore later.

After all, you would first need to get to your destination, right? How are you gonna get there without buying your plane ticket first?

How much more expensive are flights after COVID-19?

Flights are arguably the most exciting thing to book when you’re planning your travels – locking in a great price for your flight is probably just as thrilling as the sensation of being yanked back into your seat just before takeoff. 

Hopefully flight prices taking off doesn’t take away from that thrill. 

The former chief economist of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Brian Pearce, predicted in May 2020 that flight prices will increase by 43% to 54% once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Has that been the case? Let’s explore flight prices in Singapore Dollars for these three popular destinations that Singaporeans go to with the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL):

🌎 Country 💲Before COVID-19  💸 After COVID-19 💯 Percentage difference 
🇩🇪 Germany

(Berlin)

$671++ $645++*

(Scoot, seat only)

$990++*

(Singapore Airlines)

-3.95%

(Scoot, seat only)

+38.41%

(Singapore Airlines)

🇰🇷 South Korea

(Seoul)

$353++ $695++*

(Singapore Airlines)

+65.27%

(Singapore Airlines)

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

(London Heathrow)

$999++ $1,066++*

(Singapore Airlines)

+6.71%

(Singapore Airlines)

* Prices are correct as of 29 October 2021

You’d be hard-pressed to find historical flight price data charts, and many travel aggregators have promptly deleted their 2019 flight deals pages. I managed to pull data out of Skyscanner’s 2019 flight promotions page, but don’t hold your breath for this. It might get taken down, as clicking onto the linked prices leads to the 2021 flight calendar prices instead.

Booking flights post-COVID-19 is more of a headache with the new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangements. You have to check the flight numbers of your return flights in order to bypass quarantine requirements when you land in Singapore. As evidenced above, this adds to your flight costs.

Has IATA’s chief economist Brian Pearce predictions come true? He’s right about the price takeoffs, but I’m not so sure about the percentage figures he provided. To be fair, it’s a ballpark figure for all destinations aggregated, and prices vary wildly between destinations. 

What about accommodation prices? Have they jacked up in price as well?

This is another rabbit hole that seems to be filled with endless dead ends when it comes to searching price histories – much like the flight price histories, many travel aggregators have deleted or updated their old price pages.

That being said, I figured out a roundabout method to compare pre-COVID-19 hotel prices to current one with STR, a data aggregator that collects data across different industries, including hotel prices. The prices below have been converted to Singapore Dollars.

🌎 Country 💲Before COVID-19 💸 After COVID-19 💯 Percentage difference 
🇺🇸 United States ~$182++ ~$181++ -0.6%
🇨🇦 Canada ~$195++ ~$167++ -14.8%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom ~$280++ ~$210++ -25.0%

* Prices are based on historical data retrieved from August, September and October 2021.

The hotel & accommodations industry has seen a downturn of sorts because of the COVID-19 restrictions, leading to lower occupancy rates and lower average daily rates. 

Do note that these figures are average daily rates of all kinds of hotels (budget hostels to luxury hotels) in their respective countries, so the actual price you pay could be very much less. 

Unlike flights, hotels are innately socially distanced because you book one room, as opposed to one seat in a shared room on a flight. This means that it’s in the best interests of hoteliers to fill up as many rooms as they can, leading to lower prices.

Surely travel insurance would be more expensive too, right?

And you’d be right! While it’s damn-near-impossible to find historical travel insurance data, most travel insurance plans post-COVID-19 give you coverage against the bug as an add-on.

It’s definitely a no-brainer to add it onto your coverage because getting COVID-19 even before your trip could seriously disrupt everything that you’ve painstakingly planned.

Out of all the travel insurance providers, FWD is the most comprehensive. This is because they provide coverage before, during and after your trip. The other providers only provide coverage before and during your trip.

🌎 Country 💲Base price  💸 After COVID-19 add-on 💯 Percentage difference 
🇺🇸 United States $68.00 $47.60 +70.00%
🇨🇦 Canada

🇩🇪 Germany

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

🌍 Other worldwide regions 

$67.00 $42.99 +64.16%
🇰🇷 South Korea

🇦🇺 Australia

🇳🇿 New Zealand

🌏 Greater Asia

$45.00 $31.26 +69.47%
🌏 ASEAN $39.00 $29.31 +75.15%
FWD logo

Total Premium

S$25.35

35% OffTotal PremiumS$39
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Add-on Covid-19 coverage | Lowest premium
Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$200,000
Trip Cancellation
S$7,500
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$3,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$3935% Off
S$25.35
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Total Premium

S$79

Total Premium
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Med. Coverage (Overseas)
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Trip Cancellation
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Loss/Damage of Baggage
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Total Premium

S$88.33

30% OffTotal PremiumS$126.19
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Covers Covid-19 | Best Overall Coverage
Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$300,000
Trip Cancellation
S$6,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
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S$88.33
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Don’t forget about your PCR tests!

Singapore mandates that its travellers take two PCR tests prior to arrival – one pre-departure to Singapore, and one on-arrival test. The pre-departure test price depends on which country you’re arriving from, whilst the on-arrival test costs around $160.

In addition, you have to factor in the costs of taking the PCR tests even before you’ve even travelled to the VTL country. See Singapore Airlines’ list of VTL countries that require a pre-departure and/or on-arrival tests.

Prepare to budget at least $320 to $640, depending on which VTL country you want to go to, just for tests.

How much does everything add up to?

Okay, I will be the first to admit – everything mentioned above isn’t exactly apples-to-apples. If we were to take the common country with easily accessible data between all the tables listed above, it would be the 🇬🇧 United Kingdom. I present you with yet ANOTHER table of costs:

🌎 Country: 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
💰 Costs 💲Before COVID-19 💸 After COVID-19 💯 Percentage difference 
🛫 Flight ~$999.00 ~$1,066.00 +6.71%
🏨 Accommodation

(2 week stay)

~$3,920.00 ~$2,940.00 -25.00%
🚑 Travel insurance $67.00 $109.99 +64.16%
🤒 PCR tests N.A. ~$95 (1 post-arrival test in the UK)

~$320 (pre-departure test to Singapore + on-arrival test in Singapore) 

N.A.
🤑 Total ~$4,986.00 ~$4,530.99 -9.13%

 

Okay, work! Turns out plugging in the data just for the UK alone results in a 9.13% decrease in travelling costs, largely attributed to the decrease in accommodation costs.

Even then, you could stand to save quite a bit because the accommodation figures are based on the average daily rates on all kinds of hotels, from luxury hotels to budget hostels.

But that being said, this *is* just for the UK, and as we have seen above, costs between destinations and seasons or time of year vary WILDLY. I have also not included the costs for food, transport and daily expenses as these are too variable for each person. 

If you really want to find the true cost of the destination you’re interested in, it’s best to calculate it yourself with the prices you’ve searched up on that given day. We all know prices can change at an instant, and time is of the essence when it comes to booking great prices for flights, accommodations and travel insurance. 

Hopefully this article would have given you the framework to start mapping out your travel costs, and you can definitely add on your own budgets for your food, transport and daily expenses to factor in as well.

Know of anyone who’s looking to budget their trip? Share this article with them!

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