06/19/14 — To travel or not to travel?

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To travel or not to travel?

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on June 19, 2014 1:46 PM

If you plan on leaving Wayne County this summer for a brief respite from day-to-day life, you aren't the only one, and according to AAA, you are most likely heading to the beach.

"We're looking at a pretty strong summer," said Tom Crosby, a consultant for AAA. "We're predicting a 2 percent increase in number of people traveling from last summer."

But Crosby did warn that gas prices might be an issue for some. Recent developments in Iraq could affect the oil supply -- and when that happens, prices increase, making drivers less likely to hit the road and making air travel more expensive.

Even without the crisis, gas prices this year are higher.

Prices dipped down to $3.16 per gallon in the winter, but are now higher than they were last summer. Last June, gas was $3.59 per gallon, while the average cost per gallon is $3.66 this year. AAA predicts that prices have a chance of topping this year's average high of $3.70 per gallon due to the recent developments in Iraq, although there is no way to tell for certain.

"Based on surveys we've done, everything is going to be more expensive this summer," Crosby said. "But we're still expecting that spike because of the harsh winter. People saved up this winter since they couldn't go anywhere, and we believe they'll use what they saved to do more this summer."

And gas is not the only place where travelers will pay more.

Crosby said AAA has observed a 3 percent increase in hotel room prices, with the average cost per night going from $120 to $124 per night. Even rental car prices will inch up a bit, he said.

Eileen Conekin with All About Travel said the number of people booking travel plans for summer vacations in Wayne County is down from last summer, although Disney and cruise ships were still popular destinations for people looking to hit the road.

"It's the summer, so of course that's going to draw people toward the water," Ms. Conekin said. "Travel plans are down, but it's still strong. Every time you try and book a plane ticket or hotel room, they're full. But cruise ships aren't as full as we were expecting."

She said Wayne County residents also have the option of going to the beach for the day since it's close by, and that if gas spikes, there might be a slight downturn in day travel.

And right now, those increasing prices seem to be the new reality.

"It seems like gas goes up or down every day just about," said Don Wolfe, gas station attendant at Sam's Club. "There's really no way of knowing exactly what gas prices might do until they bring the gas to us."