Summer travel affected by high gas prices


    By Rebekah Kunz

    Gas prices this summer could change travel plans.

    In a survey by AAA released this week, Utahns are increasingly aware of the price of gas and are becoming more selective about their vacations.

    “Gas prices are a factor for summer travel every year, but since gas reached $3 in many places, that seems to be the threshold,” said Cynthia Harris, spokeswoman for AAA Utah.

    This Memorial Day weekend, 338,000 Utahns are expected to travel 50 miles or more.

    This estimate shows an expected increase of less than 1 percent in the number of Utah travelers from last year.

    In comparison to the 2-4 percent increases in travelers during the past few years, this year?s smaller predicted increase illustrates a slowing of the travel industry?s growth, indicating Utahns are more reluctant to travel than in the past.

    Memorial Day is generally a good travel indicator for the rest of the summer months, so summer travel is expected to show less growth in general this year, Harris said.

    She said people are expected to travel closer to home this year than in past years.

    BYU students also have gas prices in mind this summer. Shellese Nelson, a 20-year-old elementary education major from Orem, is planning a trip for the 4th of July. Nelson said if she doesn?t find other people to go with her and split the cost of gas, she won?t go.

    On the other hand, Robyn Cordner, a 20-year-old therapeutic recreation major from Brigham City, said her plans are already set for the summer and gas prices aren”t affecting them.

    “We?ve been planning the trip for a year so it”s not going to stop us,” Cordner said.

    Cars aren”t the only way Utahns will travel this summer. According to the AAA survey, modes of transportation range from planes, to alternate modes like trains, buses or boats.

    Naomi Stewart, a full-time secretary for BYU, considered these other options in her summer travel plans. Stewart will drive to California in June to see her 103-year old grandfather.

    “Even though gas prices are high, it”s still actually cheaper to drive,” Stewart said.

    BYU students are thinking twice about traveling this summer, but for some the benefits of a vacation outweigh the price.

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