Why your 2021 summer vacation will cost more

Plus, why it’s nearly impossible to buy a Bob Ross original

May 28, 2021 | Current events | Spending Habits
Article headline image

Gas, food, U-Hauls — oh my

Planning a summer vacation? You’re not alone — over two-thirds of Americans are planning a getaway this summer (and 72% of millennials). If you’re taking a road trip, book that rental car ASAP. Due to a rental car shortage sending prices as high as $700 a day, some tourists in Hawaii are renting U-Haul trucks. For air travel, don’t expect empty middle seats unless you fly with Wheels Up: the private jet company has reported a massive 68% spike in revenue this year and an increase in membership. As for lodging, the average hotel rate has soared to as high as $275, and Airbnb says it will need millions more hosts to meet surging demand. People are heading to the great outdoors, with the majority of Airbnb’s top destinations near a national park or forest. For the most part, vaccine passports are still TBD, but the EU is expected to introduce its Digital COVID Certificate by July. With more passengers, TSA wait times will increase, too, so make sure to pack your patience.

Wellness is money well spent

Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to a close, and this year, it hits different. Employee burnout is still a lingering effect of Covid-19. WFH has blurred the lines between work and home life. And over half of remote employees report working longer hours. (The dangers of overwork are very — in the worst cases, it can even kill you.) As employers scrambled for fresh ways to support workers the past year, a new employee perk has exploded: free access to wellness apps. The meditation app Calm saw 100% growth in corporate partnerships over the last year, gaining 10 million new users. In 2020, the average budget for well-being programs at companies jumped 40% from 2019 to $4.9 million. The results are good for you and for your company’s bottom line. A 2010 study shows medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and disease prevention.

13 going on 30 cover letters

After suffering some of the biggest job losses in 2020, teens all over the country are itching for their next paycheck. Thanks to the FDA authorizing Pfizer’s vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, Moderna hoping to follow suit, and millions already getting the shot, more teens are hitting “send” on job applications and are ready to work in person. More importantly, companies are desperate to hire them. But there’s a disparity in the types of jobs out there. Demand is high for summer gigs like lifeguarding and food service, and employers are hiking up wages to get workers in uniform as quickly as possible. But for those looking to land a paid internship or research position, competition is fierce. According to data posted by Indeed in April, there are 15% fewer internship postings than in 2020, but applicants are searching for internships at a 38% higher rate. If the job hunt’s got you down, at least you’ve got Olivia Rodrigo.

Desperately seeking Bob

Prolific painter, cultural icon, and father of ASMR, Bob Ross composed 381 works on his celebrated PBS show, "The Joy of Painting." And throughout his lifetime, he churned out roughly 30K landscapes — outpacing Picasso's volume by nearly 3X. So, why is it virtually impossible to get your hands on one of his original artworks? True to the ethos of the TV artist and his show, the paintings are simply not for sale. After Mr. Ross died in 1995, Bob Ross, Inc., was left to its co-owners, Annette and Walt Kowalski, who helped fund his entertainment career early on. Despite the hot demand (when a piece does hit the market, it can fetch upwards of $10K), the paintings were never meant to be commodified. According to Bob Ross, it's about the journey (and happy accidents), not the finished product.