Americans are anxious to catch up with traveling this Memorial Day weekend as the pandemic ebbs. But the high gas prices may spoil their plans.

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), close to seven in 10 Americans (69%) plan to travel this summer, and six in 10 plan to take more vacation time this year than in 2020 and 2021.

But they are greatly concerned about the soaring gas prices, which have made traveling more expensive this year and may spoil their travel plans. For instance, 57% of the survey respondents said they would take fewer trips due to high gas prices, 44% said they would postpone trips and 33% said they were likely to cancel traveling altogether. Overall, 82% said high gas prices would have at least some impact on their traveling plans this summer.

That’s terrible news for the hotel and leisure industry, which has been counting on the resumption of traveling to make up for the loss of revenues during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has instilled in most people a greater appreciation for travel, and that’s reflected in the plans Americans are making to get out and about this summer. But just as COVID’s negative impact on travel is starting to wane, a new set of challenges is emerging in the form of historic inflation and record high gas prices. We will be keeping a close eye on these issues and urging Congress and the administration to do the same in order to help ensure they don’t negatively impact hotels’ continued pandemic recovery,” said Chip Rogers, president, and CEO of AHLA.

Inflation has reached a 40-year high in recent months, driven by high food and energy prices. It’s leaving very few funds among middle and low-income families for discretionary items like eating out and traveling.

Is there something that travelers can do to ease the pain of the high gas prices?

Robin Magrisi, associate vice president at Finn Partners, has a few suggetions like seeking out hotels and destinations offering gas rebates with a booked stay.

He suggests using public transportation tourist initiatives like New York’s Long Island initiative highlighting “10 tire-less travel experiences” in partnership with the MTA. It virtually eliminates the need to use your vehicle to access and explore many of the region’s popular sites and attractions.

Magrisi points out that some states have temporarily suspended gasoline taxes.

New York has suspended gasoline taxes from June to December 2022.


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