AAA: Memorial Day travel to rise despite high gas prices

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(NewsNation) — Nearly 40 million Americans are getting ready to hit the roadways and airways this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.

It’s a figure that’s up more than 8% from last year despite the exorbitant cost of fuel right now, which, according to the travel organization, is not detouring the 35 million people who still plan on driving, in part due to COVID-19 fatigue.

“People have decided, you know what? I’ve been good. I’ve done everything right for the past two years. I’m ready to get out and go. I’m gonna go, and I’m gonna go big,” Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson, said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Thursday.

Similarly, 3 million Americans say they also plan on flying.

“Call that a little revenge spending,” said Caleb Silver, who agreed with Gross on “Rush Hour” Thursday.

Silver is the editor in chief of Investopedia, a website that touts itself as is the world’s leading source of financial content on the web.

“People want to get out and they want to get on vacation, whether that means driving like most people are expected to do or taking the short flight. Folks are expected to get out and they’re expected to do it all summer. … It’s just going to be a little more expensive, which means they’re going to be cutting back on other things so they can afford these trips,” Silver said.

That’s the case for David Wright, whose Ohio family usually takes their RV out of state for Memorial Day weekend. This year, he tells “Rush Hour,” a staycation at a local campground will have to do.

“We took it to Florida and back for $11,000. I couldn’t even get to Florida for $11,000 now,” he said.

Silver’s assessment is on par with a newly released, exclusive NewsNation poll that revealed that 43% of respondents said they made changes to their summer vacation plans. Of those, 64% have canceled their plans and 25% have decided to stay closer to home.

And “all the signs are indicating that gas prices are going to stay elevated and probably go higher,” Gross said.

So how can you soften the blow of record costs? One tip is to fill up now, as prices are expected to spike even more this weekend.

Additionally, to save fuel, it would behoove travelers to stay out of the fast lane and enjoy the scenery, as you can boost fuel efficiency if you’re traveling five to 10 miles slower.

Lastly, AAA’s Gross said gas stations closest to the highway are always more expensive. A station down the road will likely have cheaper gas.

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