Will High Gas Prices Put the Brakes on Summer Travel Plans?


BedandBreakfast.com, the largest online B&B directory and reservation network, recently conducted a survey asking travelers about this year's summer vacation plans.

With responses from more than 3,300 travelers, BedandBreakfast.com found that nearly 80 percent plan to take as many or more trips this summer as they did last year. Travelers are evenly split between staying closer to home for “staycations” and traveling farther away for “go-cations,” a break from last quarter’s trend where staying closer to home was more desirable.  

But even the most eager of travelers are sensitive to the current economic climate.

The recession has had an effect on travel plans for six out of 10 respondents with 51.2 percent of survey respondents saying they would change their plans and spend less each day and 43.4 percent saying they will vacation for fewer days in order to save money.  

If gas prices hit $4 per gallon, more than 67 percent of the survey respondents expect to reduce their plans to travel between now and Labor Day.

According to the latest Lundberg Survey, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $2.66, up almost 17 cents from two weeks ago. Still, that's significantly lower than a year ago when retail gas prices were nearing $4 a gallon and stayed at that level until late July.

Sandy Soule, marketing vice president at BedandBreakfast.com, find the results of the survey promising. “With gas prices reaching a 2009 high of $71 per barrel this week, and prices at the pump rising by forty cents in the last month, we are relieved to learn from our surveys that nearly 70 percent of respondents are still planning between two to four trips between now and Labor Day,” she said.

Charlie Leocha, founder of Tripso.com, agrees with Soule and asserts that gas prices won’t have a significant effect on summer travel. In fact, when compared to a year ago, travel is a real bargain.

Bargains and travel tips do in fact seem to be at an all time high in attempts to fuel summer vacations. BedandBreakfast.com’s “Tanks for Traveling” packages offer free gas, free dinners, free massages, or free overnight stays. For a complete list of B&Bs who've created more than 125 "Tanks for Traveling" money-saving deals, go to BedandBreakfast.com and click the fuel gauge graphic.

Other tips for how to cut summer gasoline costs this summer include getting a customized vacation map with low gas prices along the route (also cutting down on time spent getting lost and wasting more gas), choosing a car with optimum gas mileage, driving off-peak hours when possible, and turning down the AC to increase mpg by 5-25 percent.

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