Despite the steep price of gasoline, millions of Americans are expected to head out this holiday weekend. More than 39 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home on Memorial Day Weekend, an increase of over 8% compared to last year, according to AAA.
The cost of filling up the tank is at record-high prices. Nationwide, AAA reports a gallon of regular gas costs an average of $4.60.
AAA Spokesperson Andrew Gross told CBS News’ Michael George that Americans are on the road again and are choosing to head right into the glare of higher costs.
“They’re willing to drive with these high gas prices. I mean, gas prices are $1.61 more than they were Memorial Day 2019. That’s you know $24 more when you fill up a car. Every time you fill up a car, that’s a lot,” Gross said.
“You still gotta live life. So, you gotta spend a little bit more money,” one traveler added.
Travelers are seeing an increase in airfare price as well. According to AAA, airfares are up 6%, and hotel rates are up 42%.
“People know that hotel prices are high and yet bookings are high. So, everybody is telling us that, you know, ‘we know that it’s going to be more expensive but we want to go,'” said Gross.
To prepare for the busy travel season, some states have been funding their tourism campaigns.
North Dakota’s $6.5 million tourism campaign drove 2 million visitors to its website. Hawaii’s tourism authority is promoting a new urban trail and Kansas awarded 11 tourism grants to develop attractions.
Americans are showing they’re willing to spend for leisure travel but Gross said people have found other ways to cut costs.
“They may have slightly altered their day-to-day lifestyle, when it comes to actually going on vacation they’ve budgeted in for that and they have decided I’m going to pay the price because for me, getting from point A to point B, paying gas, it may be still cheaper than paying for airfare, paying for a hotel, paying for a rental car,” he said.
Air travelers may also be having a tough start to the holiday weekend as airports across the country are seeing a high number of cancellations.
More than 1,200 hundred flights were canceled on Friday according to FlightAware, mostly due to the weather and ongoing staffing problems at the airlines.