Are you traveling with small children? Try these tips 2:32 (CNN) — Gas prices and Covid-19 cases are high as the United States approaches Memorial Day weekend and the busy summer travel season. The tangled web of global restrictions remains in play, but most Americans plan to travel this summer. According to the American Travel Association, about six in ten Americans plan to take at least one summer trip. The price of gasoline is an important factor. US Travel reports that 63% of US travelers say rising gas prices will affect their decision to travel in the next six months. That’s the case for Eric Stevens, a single dad from Los Angeles who has decided he’s not going anywhere. He spends about US$180 a week on gasoline for his daily obligations. Typically, he and his children choose a travel destination less than a tank of gas from his home in Encino. “We’ve done Tahoe, we’ve done San Francisco, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara. There’s no way I can afford it this weekend,” Stevens said. They wanted to visit Lake Havasu in Arizona this year, but needs like childcare outweigh the trip. “Dad has canceled the fun due to inflation,” Stevens wrote to CNN. He told CNN’s Pete Muntean that he feels he is depriving his younger children of the travel experiences and memories that his older children had. Wildwood, along the New Jersey shore, was primed for crowds days before Memorial Day weekend in 2021. Spencer Platt/Getty Images “This will probably be one of the most expensive travel periods on Memorial Day. of the Fallen we’ve ever seen,” Andrew Gross, a spokesman for the travel organization AAA, told Muntean. Of the more than 39 million people AAA expects to travel over the holiday weekend, nearly 35 million will do so by car. The proportion of travelers who plan to travel by car has decreased, from 92.1% last year to 88.9% this year, “a slight indication that the increase in gas station prices is influencing the way in which people decide to travel this Memorial Day,” AAA said in its forecast. For those planning to hit the road this summer, CNN has rounded up 11 ways to soften the blow of high gas prices on your road trip. High prices everywhere It’s not just gas prices. “My rent went up. Gas prices went up. Groceries went up. Everything went up. So no Montana this year,” wrote CNN reader Sheri Brown, who has dreamed of a trip to Montana for years. Hotel prices are now above pre-pandemic levels, according to figures from hotel analytics firm STR. The average daily rate for US hotels for the week ending May 21 was up more than 13% from a comparable week in 2019, before the pandemic. Miami recorded the largest rate increase over 2019, with an increase of more than 42% in the average daily rate. Despite high prices heading into the peak summer travel season, many travelers are pressing ahead with ambitious plans. Lisa Blades, an estate manager in Montecito, California, is going to Paris with her 55-year-old best friend and her daughters, a trip they’ve talked about for decades. International destinations, including Paris, remain a draw despite rising prices. Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images “Come on!” he wrote, telling CNN they are going for it, despite “multiple layers of adversity.” “I’m talking about covid-19, plus the outrageous cost of air travel, a war in Europe, and managing the schedules of 3 college kids, not to mention my first vacation from work in 5 years.” They have opted for a vacation rental property more profitable than hotel rooms and are going to Paris in August, even though much of the city will be on vacation. Blades and her daughter will fly to Paris via Ireland because it’s cheaper than a nonstop flight. They will depart from San Francisco, which is an additional $700 in plane tickets for the transatlantic portion of their trip, which comes to $4,196. Flight prices have gone up “across the board,” says Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and spokeswoman for FlightAware. “If you see a cheap fare that appeals to you, book it! You have 24 hours to change your mind, but in that same time frame, the price could go up, or the seat could go missing,” she says. Plane tickets rise in price faster than ever before 0:39 Tips for smooth summer air travel Travel experts forecast a chaotic travel season, in which air travelers are likely to experience many disruptions as airlines are struggling to meet demand amid a series of operational challenges. Delta Air Lines on Thursday cited “weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, rising covid-19 case rates contributing to higher-than-anticipated unscheduled absences in some groups of work” as factors in your decision to cancel about 100 daily departures in July and early August. AAA says 3 million people are expected to fly over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That figure is close to 2019 levels and represents a 25% increase from last year. Here are more tips from FlightAware’s Kathleen Bangs for smoother flights this weekend and beyond: – Book flights first thing in the morning. This increases your chances of getting a later flight in the event of major delays or cancellations. – Book with a minimum of two hours between connecting flights. Tight connections could leave you stranded. – Check the website and Twitter of the departure airport. They often share helpful information about construction projects impacting operations and long security lines. – Check your airline’s website for travel exemptions. Sometimes you can easily change your flight when delays and cancellations are likely. One example: Delta issued a waiver Thursday for Memorial Day weekend. – Check the travel coverage of your credit card. Premium cardholders often have insurance that could cover expenses like meals and accommodation in the event of a delay or cancellation. Bangs also pointed out that some airlines have lowered their baggage weight limits, so it’s a good idea to check and weigh your bag at home. And wearing a mask makes sense. Bangs pointed to an unfortunate set of circumstances for passengers flying into Washington’s Reagan National Airport last weekend, which kept them on planes for an extra five hours. With cases of covid-19 in many areas, spending a lot of time in a closed space carries an added risk. And while masks are not currently required at airports or on US airlines, the CDC still recommends them for public transportation. Some airlines and international destinations still require them. Everyone is ready for some much-needed rest and relaxation this summer. A little advance planning can help pave the way for what could be a bumpy ride.
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