🧳 Pack it up


Relaxation and exploration are top of mind for the majority of Americans planning to travel domestically in 2024 (90%). 

According to new Empower research, nearly two-thirds (61%) are packing their bags for a summer getaway, while 35% are hitting the road during holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day. To help offset inflation, 34% are opting for off-season travel when prices are typically lower.  

A third (33%) say they aren’t waiting for retirement to see the world – and are prioritizing traveling now. For those who want to do both, get a jump on retirement planning.   

Before catching your flight, catch the latest money news. 

— The Editors


🛂 Fast pass(port): Skipping long customs lines at the airport is about to get pricier for the first time in more than 15 years.* U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that the application fee for Global Entry is increasing from $100 to $120 effective October 1, 2024. Considering Global Entry is good for five years, the new cost breaks down to just an extra $4 per year. A record-breaking 3.2 million people* applied for Global Entry in the last fiscal year with more applicants on the way, as nearly 2 in 5 Americans plan an international trip this year (37%).    

🚢 Bon voyage with a butler: Luxury travelers will soon be able to set sail on a lavish 140-day cruise around the world that costs nearly $1 million per person.* Making waves in 2027, the 746-passenger Seven Seas Splendor will visit 40 countries and boasts premium accommodations, including a 4,443-square-foot suite that comes with a dedicated butler, full bar, and a personal car and driver at every port. Fares include first-class round-trip flights, door-to-door luggage service, nearly 500 shore excursions, and specialty dining.  

🚘 Pedal to the metal: Those planning a summer road trip will be paying more at the pump, as the average price for gas in the U.S. has risen nearly 6.5% in the past month,* from $3.39 to $3.61 per gallon. According to Empower Personal Dashboard™ data as of April 2024, Americans are spending $52.35 on average per transaction – up 10.3% from $47.45 in December 2023. Those living in places like California, Washington, Nevada, and Oregon pay the most to fill up their tanks, and as prices continue to jump, 47% of Americans anticipate spending more on travel this year compared to last. 

✈️ Suitcase surge: Sometimes it pays to pack lightly – and your back and wallet may thank you, as some bag checking fees have increased by almost 30%.* Last year, U.S. airlines saw their revenue climb to $33 billion* from baggage fees. 


First class for Fido 

Dog owners will soon be able to take flight with their four-legged best friend … on a private jet. The price tag? Fares start at $6,000* for a one-way flight, depending on the destination. 

BARK Air, from the same company behind dog subscription service BarkBox, is debuting the premium, dog-centric airline, and inaugural flights will take off on May 23* with weekly flights from New York to Los Angeles and twice-monthly flights from New York to London. 

The pet-friendly jet seats up to 10 dogs and their humans for a tail-wagging, first-class experience that offers sips of “dog champagne” (chicken broth), treats, calming jackets, comfy beds, and more for the pampered passengers. 

The premium travel option may be barking up the right tree for pet owners who say financial happiness means affording experiences with the people (and dogs) they cherish (53%).  


✈️ On-the-go: What travel expense are you most willing to splurge on? 

  • Transportation 

  • Hotels and lodging 

  • Experiences 

  • Shopping 

  • Food and dining 

Deciding where to spend and save is on job seekers’ minds too: In last week's poll, 60% said salary is the most important consideration in a new job market, while 28% put housing prices at the top of their list. 



The wanderlust wishlist 

In its 2024 report, the World Travel & Tourism Council projects that the travel industry’s global financial impact will fly sky-high to a new record of $11.1 trillion* this year.  

A new Empower study found that those traveling stateside are planning to spend an average of $1,163 per trip, while the 37% of Americans going abroad anticipate spending $2,904.  

One in 5 Millennials are planning to postpone major purchases like buying a home to fund their travel plans. Nearly half of respondents (45%) say they count on extra money from side jobs, while others use their tax refunds or bonuses (34%) and travel rewards and loyalty programs (32%).  

For domestic travelers, New York City, Las Vegas, and Honolulu are the top cities Americans want to visit this year. Tokyo, London, and Paris are the most desired international destinations. 


Travel jobs take flight 

Travel company Upgraded Points is offering one movie buff the chance to earn $1,500* for exploring the world – all from the comfort of their couch.  

The job entails watching and recording observed trends in 15 travel-related movies such as “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love.” Interested cinephiles can apply before May 10. 

If you’re looking for a more traditional role in the hospitality sector, now may be the right time to apply, as the industry added 49,000 jobs* last month, returning to pre-pandemic levels. 

One essential job at the airport is taking off: The Federal Aviation Administration is hiring 1,800* air traffic controllers this year and an additional 2,000 in 2025. The role doesn’t require a college degree, which may be a draw for job seekers focused on skills-based opportunities.  

Get the scoop on your money.

Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

As of April 19, 2024, EAG does not hold shares of Bark, Inc (BARK) in advisory client accounts. 

*Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement, responsibility, or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites. 

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The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites. 

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money. 

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