US travelers are still wary of the price at the pump according to TripAdvisor® – the world’s largest travel site – who announced the results of its annual summer travel survey today. The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. respondents revealed that eighty-six percent of those surveyed were planning leisure trips this summer; up from 83 percent last year.
However, whilst most respondents remain committed to taking vacations this summer, 39 percent said the rising cost of fuel is impacting their summer travel plans. Eighteen percent of Americans expect to take fewer trips by car, 12 percent intend to take shorter driving trips and five percent are not planning to travel at all this summer, due to rising fuel prices.
“Time and time again we see that U.S. travelers are undeterred by outside influences when it comes to summer travel,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “While rising gas prices will continue to keep Americans mindful of mileage, the vast majority intend to hit the road for leisure trips this summer.” Many RV’ers have cancelled or curtailed travel plans for this summer, preferring to economize by staying longer in one location.
In spite of President Obama’s new found conversion to the benefits of continued oil drilling the majority of U.S. travelers expect gas prices to continue their upward climb during the summer driving season. Seventy-six percent expect gas prices to hit at least $4.50 per gallon for regular fuel, 26 percent predict prices at the pump will reach $5.00 per gallon, and 13 percent foresee prices exceeding $5.00 per gallon. Eighteen percent said they will bypass car trips if gas prices reach $5.00 per gallon, and an additional 20 percent said they will avoid road trips if costs exceed $5.00 per gallon.
Somewhat contradictory data suggested that 24 percent of travelers would limit the maximum distance that they are willing to drive for a leisure trip to 200 miles. However, if driving remained cheaper than air travel 21 percent would be willing to spend ten hours or more driving to a destination this summer.
In spite of increased pump prices 33 percent of travelers surveyed still plan to travel this Memorial Day weekend, up from 29 percent last year. Twenty-one percent of respondents will drive to their Memorial Day weekend destinations. Of those respondents driving, 71 percent will travel more than 100 miles, and 23 percent will drive more than 300 miles.