Record gas prices are unlikely to stop summer travel, as Americans crave vacations after the COVID-19 pandemic has limited normal activities.
When asked about the impact of inflation on travel plans, 70% of consumers surveyed said their summer travel plans had been affected by higher gas prices, which is a 24% increase from 2021. 65% still take one or two routes. trips, according to a recent GasBuddy survey.
However, travelers can choose destinations closer to home. A local professor said traveling shorter distances is a way travelers are likely to compensate for inflated fuel prices while still staying on vacation.
“It’s not that people have stopped traveling yet, but rather that they have reduced the distance they want to travel to help reduce the cost of fuel,” said Harold Dottie, a professor of management at the University of Texas at Tyler.
The national average price of gas in the United States exceeded $5 a gallon Thursday for the first time ever, according to GasBuddy. Regular unleaded gas averaged about $4.62 at Tyler on Friday. The higher cost comes behind months of gas price increases across the country, which have accelerated as seasonal demand rises amid supply constraints due to the pandemic.
Some residents in Tyler believe high gas prices are negatively impacting their summer plans.
“We can’t travel much because of the high prices,” said John Moulinex, a gas station customer.
Stephen Young, a local, said he doesn’t usually travel, but if he wanted to take a trip, he wouldn’t be able to because of the high prices.
“It affects everyone’s travel plans,” Young said.
Shayan Gajragozou was getting gas from Tyler earlier this week and said he was unhappy about the exorbitant prices.
“I just moved to Tyler so I’ve been driving a lot,” Jagragozo said. “I’ve been driving to Austin, Dallas, and I’m from Houston. Now, I’m a little more specific about where I want to travel.”
Dottie said that due to the increased expectations for travel after the pandemic, travel is expected to increase significantly this summer.
“We will likely see more travel than we did in the past two summers simply because people haven’t been able to travel because of COVID, but I’m not sure we’ll see the explosive growth that some of the forecasts were calling for this summer,” Dottie said.
Dottie said that over time, higher gas prices will likely start to limit travel, which we hope will slow price increases due to lower demand.
Gas prices aren’t the only factor Americans consider when making their summer travel plans. Airline ticket prices are up 38% compared to last May, and hotel and accommodation prices are up 22%, according to the Travel Association of America’s Travel Price Index in May.
“We are in a very interesting time because until very recently, [prices] It doesn’t seem to affect travel at all,” Dottie said.
Don’t want to travel far? Do you have a residence in East Texas?
For people looking to make summer plans locally and land residency, Senior Vice President at Visit Tyler, Holli Fourniquet, said there are a lot of things to do in the East Texas area that you don’t think people realize.
One of the places Fornicket recommends is the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Villages Resort.
“You can go, you can stay and you don’t even feel like you’re in Tyler or at home, but it’s here in the area,” said Furnicett.
The resort is located on Palestine Lake where you can ride a boat, swimming pools, games, themed nights, restaurants and more.
“It feels like you’re on a full vacation without all the expensive travel costs,” said Fornecket.
Fourniquet also recommends High Hill Farm. The getaway has an infinity-edge pool, outdoor games, outdoor fire pit, walking trails, golf, cabins, and more.
For families, Fourniquet recommends the RV and Jellystone Park Resort in Whispering Pines. Families can enjoy the water park, themed activities, hay rides, crafts, and more. According to Fourniquet, Whispering Pines’ Jellystone Park is consistently listed as one of the top franchise locations and has won numerous awards within their company.
Fourniquet also added that the Tyler area and the East Texas area are one of those places where you don’t have to spend a dime and can go out and have fun.
“Make a list of places you haven’t been to, and just exploring the area makes you feel like you’re on vacation,” she said.
More local activities, accommodations and events can be found at https://visittyler.com/experience-tyler/.