Travel is always a fun time for first-hand data gathering on economic outcomes, even if all the data are anecdotal. Here are four things I noticed:
- Prices are higher, particularly for travel services with less elastic demand. On our trip, that was the airfare and the rental cars primarily, but also restaurants that we typically frequent and stores where we did some shopping.
- Venues are near capacity but not bursting. Places that we went had the feeling of being full but not crowded.
- There was less traffic than I would have expected, particularly given #2. The only time we were delayed was when there was an accident.
- There was no construction of any consequence.
Outside of these travel-related observations, I have been getting an unusually high amount of promotional e-mails from online retailers this season. They are either becoming very good at figuring out that I need new socks, or they are quite desperate.
What were your holiday season observations and experiences related to the economy?