How Gas Prices are Impacting Summer Travel Plans

The 2020s have started as a tough decade for travel and tourism. The COVID pandemic prevented many of us from traveling in 2020 and 2021. And just as we’re feeling more comfortable about traveling, soaring gas prices have made travel more expensive.

So what are we going to do? Are we going to keep our travel plan and pay the higher prices? Or will we cancel our plans and spend another year at home?

Let’s see what recent survey data says…

Most of Us Are Planning a Trip!

In our recent survey, 60 percent of respondents said they have plans to travel within the next six months. But we might be delaying our trips a bit in the hopes of gas prices coming back down. Only 34 percent have travel plans for the upcoming month.

As usual, the top travel method, as ranked by survey respondents, was road-tripping. Raising fuel costs have also made air travel more expensive, so even with increased gas prices, traveling by car is still the most cost-effective method in most cases.

Just how high are gas prices? According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gas on Memorial Day (the unofficial start of the summer season) was $4.62. A month ago it was $4.18. And a year ago, it was just $3.05.

Some states have it worse than others. Californians, for example, paid an average of $6.15 at the pump on Memorial Day, while drivers in Kansas paid “just” $4.13.

We’re Willing to Cancel Plans if the Prices Get Too High

Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents said they are considering canceling upcoming travel due to gas prices. 

After years of COVID lockdown and travel restrictions, having to cancel travel plans because of rising gas prices is extra disappointing. 

How to Enjoy a Summer Trip Without Breaking the Bank

Maybe you don’t have to cancel your summer travel plans. Maybe you can just change them a bit to make your trip more affordable. 

Here are a few tips for traveling this summer without blowing your travel budget.

  1. Increase your MPGs. Did you know that properly maintaining your vehicle and removing extra weight can give you more miles per gallon? Check out our top tips for saving big on gas!

  2. Stay close to home. You don’t need a cross-country road trip to have a good time. In fact, by staying close to home, you spend less time in the car and more time relaxing, playing, or sightseeing. And, of course, the fewer miles you drive, the less you pay for gas.

  3. Watch your speed. Every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like spending an extra $0.25 per gallon of gas. 

  4. Avoid the most popular destinations. Tourist towns charge a premium for hotels, meals, and attractions. By choosing a destination with a lower profile, you’ll be able to either spend more on gas or pocket the difference!

  5. Go for an inherently low-cost trip like camping. No need to pay for expensive hotels and fancy meals when you can enjoy a night under the stars next to a campfire. And you can probably find a campground close enough that you won’t need to spend much on gas either!

Wherever your summer travels take you, stay safe on the roadways during the hot summer months. And have a great trip!

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Updated 7/5/22