Posts Tagged ‘travel plans’

Holiday travel is expected to increase during the July 4 period compared with last year, but the mid-week holiday is likely to result in more spread-out travel plans that could ease congestion. As reported by theWall Street Journal, the fuel bill for road trips should be smaller, though gasoline is still far from cheap.

The travel-services group AAA estimates 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the coming holiday weekend, a 4.9 percent jump from last year. The projected travel volume will match the high point of the past decade, which occurred in 2007, and marks an increase of nearly 42 percent from 2009.

Road trippers will recall that the July 4 period was near the peak of a spike in gasoline prices in 2008, and many still-shell-shocked motorists stayed close to home in 2009. AAA defines the Independence Day travel period as July 3 to July 8.

Because July 4 is Wednesday, the usual five-day travel period grows to six days and gives people the option of including a weekend and two week days either before or after the actual holiday. AAA asked prospective travelers about their planned departure day, and 54% said they expected to begin their trip before the start of the week that includes July 4.

Lower fuel prices are helping to drive travel volume. The average price of regular gas in the U.S. is $3.44, almost 14 cents lower than last year and about 50 cents below the recent peak in April.

“AAA’s projection for a decade high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by Americans’ appetite for travel, a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “This is the second holiday this year where travelers indicated a determination to travel while economizing by actively seeking value-added travel options and activities,” Sutherland said.

More Americans will take to the roads over the Memorial Day weekend this year as they benefit from a recent drop in pump prices, travel group AAA forecast, heralding a summer of strong gasoline demand.

About 30.7 million people will drive to destinations 50 miles or more away from home between May 24 and 28, the start of the peak driving season in the United States.

Last year, only 30.3 million people drove to their destinations during the holiday weekend, which serves as an early gauge of summer gasoline sales at pumping stations.

“The overall domestic economic picture continues to improve slightly,” Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO, said in a statement.

Motorists, however, took a hit from high gasoline prices this spring and will try to save money by staying close to home and cutting entertainment costs, he added.Gas Pump Fill-up

U.S. gasoline prices were averaging $3.73 a gallon last week, compared with $3.96 a year ago.

The forecast indicates motorists may be in a better position to weather higher prices. Fears that gasoline would hit a record $5 a gallon, fueled by the rising cost of oil early in 2012, have abated but prices are higher than in 2008, when Memorial Day travel fell more than 10 percent due to soaring costs.

The forecast, based on a survey of 50,000 U.S. households, found that more than half of its respondents did not change their travel plans because of high gasoline prices.

The government has projected that U.S. summer gasoline prices will average $3.79 a gallon, 8 cents more than last year but significantly lower than the $4 danger zone beyond which, analysts say, demand will drop significantly.

Amy and Rod Burkert hopped in their tricked-out Winnebago this weekend and set out with their two best friends in search of the country’s best vacation spots – for people with pets.

The couple’s traveling companions are Ty, a 5-year-old Shar-Pei, and Buster, a 2-year-old German shepherd. And trying to find hotels to accommodate them and their dogs on a fishing trip to Canada two years ago led to a new career path and way of life for the Foster Township couple.

“We sat down that July and started to make travel plans and determined we needed to stay in seven different hotels on our circular road trip. It took me two full days to find the seven hotels we would stay in because of the way the Web sites were,” Amy said.

Web sites that advertised hotels as “pet friendly” didn’t necessarily indicate if they charged extra for pets, if there were weight or breed restrictions or if they allowed two dogs in one room.

“I kept saying to Rod, ‘This is crazy. People aren’t going to take the time to do this. They’ll just take their pet to a kennel because it’s just not easy enough to plan a trip with their pets.’ So, we got home, looked at other Web sites, did more research on what was out there for pet friendliness and we just decided we were going to make it easier for people to travel with their pets,” Amy said.

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