Summer Preview ’23: Inflation Alters Vacation Plans

woman in yellow tank top sitting beside woman in blue tank top

Inflation is lingering like an in-law overstaying their welcome. As a result, consumers are demanding deals as they make vacation plans for summer 2023.

Judging by recent research, consumers plan to hit the road in droves this summer and cookouts could be less frequent and elaborate as in the past. Consider the following recent findings:

A Bankrate survey revealed that, among the 37% of American adults unlikely to take a vacation this year, most of that group – 58% — indicated they simply can’t afford to. That’s 10 percentage points more than in 2022 (Gen Xers were the most likely demographic to say they couldn’t afford a summer vacation this year, at 69%).

That same survey showed that 26% of respondents who are taking at least one vacation this year are planning to drive rather than fly to cut costs.

“There’s a cumulative toll to both inflation and the higher interest rates that are meant to combat it,” Bankrate analyst Ted Rossman said in a statement, adding:

“Prices were rising much faster last year at this time, but fewer travelers were adjusting their plans.”

Vibenomics recently gauged sentiment among more than 1,000 shoppers as Memorial Day – the unofficial start to summer – nears. The findings revealed 74% of shoppers plan to search for sales in the days ahead.

As inflation persists this summer, businesses can nevertheless win customers by taking a few careful steps.


SpotOn’s advisory council said a few rather simple measures can help businesses like restaurants capitalize on summer crowds. Their tips are applicable to various industry segments, too.

The council reminded business operators to appeal to day-time crowds with seasonal and social media friendly offerings (like colorful menu items, for example). The experienced business leaders also noted that it’s imperative to add new offerings with the changing season, such as the latest in healthier-for-you beverages.

JB Balingit, owner of The Hideout Kitchen, said businesses must carefully consider their pricing strategy in the current climate.

“Don’t be too greedy with your pricing strategy – we can’t price ourselves out of repeat business,” Balingit warned.


With the uptick in road trips on the horizon this summer – as indicated by Bankrate – businesses like convenience stores must take a few specific measures to meet customer needs.

Michael Jaszczyk, CEO of GK Americas, said C-stores can improve the customer experience through innovative technologies by enabling mobile payments, investing in loyalty programs, and combining fuel and in-store offerings.

“Families making a pit stop for fuel will also be looking for refreshments and foods that don’t require any extra preparation,” Jaszczyk noted. “Retailers must have a unified POS.”

The Food Institute Podcast

Convenience stores often get a bad rap for lackluster foodservice options, but the category has expanded to include better foodservice options in the past few years. Circana SVP of Retail Client Solutions Scott Love joined The Food Institute Podcast to explore how C-stores are utilizing data more than ever before, and how the industry is adapting to changing consumer habits amid inflationary pressures.