See ya: More than half in DC plan to travel more this summer than last

The wanderlust has been simmering during two years of COVID-19 — a new study by AAA Travel shows people in the D.C. area are making big travel plans, despite the highest gas prices in years.

“Over 50% of Washington, D.C. residents are planning to travel more this summer than they did last year,” said Ragina Ali, manager of public and government affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “And, nearly 30% are planning their first significant summer travel since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Last summer, there was an uptick in travel, with increased vaccination numbers and the end of mask mandates in portions of the country, Ali said.

“Now, 50% of Washington residents say that their COVID concerns have eased greatly, and that is certainly playing a role in the desire for people to want to travel,” she said.

Announced the day after a court in Florida struck down the mask mandate on planes and mass transit, Ali said passengers will likely make their own choices, as the U.S. government weighs a potential challenge to the ruling.

“Traveling is always a very personal decision,” Ali said. “If they still feel more comfortable to wear a mask, that’s certainly an option, and I think many people will still do that.”

Of those traveling, more than 40% are planning international travel, more than 50% are planning multiple trips during the summer, she said.

Despite some of the highest gas prices in years — Tuesday’s average price was $4.34 per gallon, far above last year’s average of $3.02 — Ali said the cost of filling the tank apparently will not deter summer travel.

“More than 60% of Washington, D.C. residents indicated that gas prices really were not a consideration in their travel planning,” Ali said.

The membership-based federation of motor clubs surveyed 603 D.C. residents between April 8-9. The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4%.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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