Travelers battle high prices

(CNN) — Gasoline prices and Covid cases are high as the United States enters Memorial Day weekend and the busy summer travel season.

The tangled web of global restrictions is still in play, but most Americans plan to get out this summer.

According to the US Travel Association, about six in 10 Americans plan at least one summer trip.

Gas prices are definitely a factor. US Travel reports that 63% of US travelers say rising gas prices will affect their decision to travel in the next six months.

That’s certainly the case with Eric Stevens, a single dad in Los Angeles who decided he wasn’t going anywhere. He spends about $180 a week on gasoline for his daily obligations.

Typically, he and his kids would pick a travel destination about a tank of gas from their home in Encino.

“We did Tahoe, we did San Francisco, Carpenteria, Santa Barbara. I can’t afford that this weekend,” Stevens said.

They wanted to visit Lake Havasu in Arizona this year, but necessities like daycare outweigh travel.

“Dad canceled the party because of inflation,” Stevens wrote to CNN. He told CNN’s Pete Muntean that he felt like he was depriving his young children of the kind of travel experiences and memories that his older children had.

Wildwood, along the Jersey Shore, was poised to see crowds days before Memorial Day weekend in 2021.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“This is likely to be one of the most expensive Memorial Day travel periods we have ever seen,” Andrew Gross, spokesman for travel organization AAA, told Muntean.

Of the more than 39 million people AAA expects to travel over the holiday weekend, nearly 35 million will be driving.

The share of travelers planning to drive has actually fallen – from 92.1% last year to 88.9% this year – “a slight indication that higher prices at the pump are impacting the way people choose to travel this Memorial Day,” AAA said. in his prediction.

High prices everywhere

It’s not just gas prices.

“My rent went up. Gas prices went up. Groceries went up. Everything went up. So no Montana this year,” wrote CNN reader Sheri Brown, who dreams of a trip to the Montana for years.

The average daily rate for U.S. hotels for the week ending May 21 increased more than 13% from a comparable week in 2019, before the pandemic. Miami posted the highest rate increase in 2019, with an increase of more than 42% in the average daily rate.

Despite high prices as the peak summer travel season approaches, many travelers are pushing ahead with ambitious plans.

Lisa Blades, an estate manager in Montecito, Calif., travels to Paris with her 55-year-old best friend and their daughters, a trip they’ve been talking about for decades.

International destinations, including Paris, are still attractive despite rising prices.

International destinations, including Paris, are still attractive despite rising prices.

Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

“Let’s go !” she wrote, telling CNN they were going for it, despite “many layers of adversity.”

“I’m talking about Covid here, plus the exorbitant cost of air travel, a war in Europe and arguing with 3 college age schedules, not to mention my first working holiday in 5 years.”

They have opted for a more economical vacation rental than hotel rooms and are heading to Paris in August, even though much of the city will be on vacation.

Blades and her daughter are flying to Paris via Ireland because it’s cheaper than a nonstop flight. They depart from San Francisco, with an additional $700 airfare for the $4,196 transatlantic leg of their trip.

Flight prices are up “across the board,” says Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and FlightAware spokeswoman.

“If you see a cheap fare you like, book it! You have 24 hours to change your mind, but in the same period the price could go up or the seat could disappear,” she said. declared.

Tips for traveling by plane in the summer without a hitch

Travel experts are predicting a chaotic travel season, with air travelers likely to see plenty of disruption as airlines scramble to keep up with demand amid a host of operational challenges.
On Thursday, Delta Air Lines cited “weather and air traffic control, supplier staffing, increased Covid case rate contributing to higher than expected unplanned absences in some work groups” as factors in its decision to cancel about 100 daily departures in July and early August.

AAA says 3 million people are expected to fly over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This figure is approaching 2019 levels and represents a 25% increase over last year.

Here are some additional tips from FlightAware’s Kathleen Bangs for smoother flights this weekend and beyond:

Book early morning flights. This increases your chances of boarding a later flight in the event of significant delays or cancellations.

Book with a minimum of two hours between connecting flights. Tight connections could leave you stuck.

• Check your departure airport’s website and Twitter feed. They often share useful information about construction projects impacting operations and long security lines.

Check your airline’s website for travel waivers. Sometimes you can easily change your flight when delays and cancellations are likely. Example: Delta issued a waiver Thursday for Memorial Day weekend.

• Check your credit card’s travel coverage. Premium cardholders often have insurance that could cover expenses such as meals and accommodation in the event of a delay or cancellation.

Bangs also noted that some airlines have lowered their baggage weight limits, so it’s a good idea to check those and weigh your bag at home.

And packing a mask makes sense.

Bangs pointed to an unfortunate set of circumstances for passengers flying into Washington’s Reagan National Airport last weekend that kept them on planes for an additional five hours.

With Covid cases in many areas, spending a lot of time in an enclosed space carries an added risk.

And while masks are currently not required at US airports and on US airlines, the CDC still recommends them for public transportation. Some airlines and international destinations still require it.

Everyone is ready for some well deserved rest and relaxation this summer. A little planning ahead can help smooth out what could be a bumpy ride.

Top image: Travelers walk through the lobby of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on the eve of Memorial Day weekend in 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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