The price of travel

Gas just one price to increase as summer approaches

Although travel costs have increased this summer, they have not deterred people from traveling this upcoming Memorial Day and during the summer travel season, according to a press release.

"People are still traveling despite the higher costs," said Sandra Barnes, AAA Colorado's director of travel. "Travelers find other ways to save money such as staying in less expensive hotels, eating at less expensive restaurants or traveling closer to home."

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Gas prices in Colorado are up considerably from last year. The average price for regular unleaded in Colorado is $3.266 a gallon, an all-time record high. Last year on this date, the average price in Colorado for regular unleaded was $2.83 per gallon.

Hotel rates also are up about 13 percent nationally from a year ago, with travelers paying an average of $174 per night at AAA 3 Diamond hotels.

Not all summer costs have increased. AAA's Leisure Travel Index shows flights during the upcoming holiday weekend averaging 5 percent less this year than last year. Car rental rates are expected to fall 16 percent from last year, with renters paying an average of $31, almost $6 a day less than last year.

"Despite the higher gas prices and hotel rates, not all costs have increased," said Barnes. "This means that the total cost of many trips will be approximately the same as last year."

AAA estimates 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day holiday, a 1.7 percent increase from last year. Despite record high gas prices, approximately 32.1 million travelers -- 84 percent of all holiday travelers -- expect to go by motor vehicle, a 1.8 percent increase from the 31.5 million who drove a year ago.

Another 4.4 million, 11 percent of holiday travelers, plan to travel by airplane, up 1 percent from last Memorial Day. A projected 1.9 million, 5 percent of all travelers, will travel by train, bus, or other mode of transportation.

Overall summer bookings -- Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends -- at AAA Colorado's full service travel agency have decreased slightly from last year. Barnes said that this does not signal less people are traveling, but instead that more people are searching for last minute bargains.

"With some travel costs up, more travelers are trying to find last minute deals, instead of booking and planning their trips ahead of time. Unfortunately, often times not booking far enough in advance can cost travelers more than it saves in vacation options and prices."

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