Gas prices, inflation causing many to alter or abandon summer travel plans

I-95 in Jacksonville captured on June 20, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Increased gas prices and inflation are causing many to change up their summer travel plans.

Alabama native Michelle Roden said her family usually enjoys a few trips to Florida’s beaches each summer, but she’ll have to forgo those in 2022.

“We’re staying local,” Roden said. “We’re not traveling as much like down to the Panama City areas or any beaches -- too expensive.”

With gas prices approaching $5 in most locations, and quadruple the typical rate of inflation, many Americans are choosing more modest summer trips in 2022 or foregoing travel altogether.

Increased gas prices and inflation are causing many to change up their summer travel plans.

Financial website ValuePenguin polled more than 1,000 U.S. citizens and found that among those deciding not to travel, 57% said it’s because they can’t afford to do so. That’s up from 43% who answered that way last year.

According to the same report, 35% of respondents said that the pandemic played a role in their decision to avoid traveling.

LET US KNOW: Are you changing or thinking about changing your summer travel plans?

But that’s not to say that travel isn’t still happening, quite the contrary.

Leigh Elizabeth Israel, president of Avondale Travel, said post-pandemic demand for taking a trip is colliding with the litany of planned trips that were postponed during the height of the spread of COVID-19

“Everyone’s ready to get out of their homes because of COVID for the past two years,” Israel said. “So, we have a lot of rescheduled bookings from 2020 and 2021 going into ‘22 and ‘23.”

Israel said that the top desired destinations are Italy, France and Greece, but that availability is extremely scarce. She recommended anyone considering any leisure travel -- to plan for 2023 and beyond.

“Plan for next year. I’m not kidding,” Israel said. “We’re so inundated with new business and existing clients that the farther out you can plan, the better off you are.”

Even smaller-scale adventures will cost more in 2022, particularly at the gas pump, with the current average price per gallon in the U.S. sitting just below $5.

The ValuePenguin survey found that 79% of travelers plan to drive to at least one destination -- but that 15% of those who plan to take a trip in the summer of 2022 changed their mode of transportation due to gas prices.

President Joe Biden said Monday that he’s considering a federal holiday on the gasoline tax, which could save U.S. consumers as much as 18.4 cents a gallon.