Fuel prices hit travelers hard, force vacationers to use cost-saving measures

POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 1:04am

It's the usual hotspot destinations for Spring Break travel this year: Miami, Vegas, Cancun, and Orlando.

But as painful as the sunburn you might get is the pain at the pump travelers are facing this year.

Gas is already $3.57 a gallon in Chicago. In Charlotte, North Carolina, it's $3.64.

The price tracking website GasBuddy.com predicts a national average of $3.95 by Memorial Day.

It's hitting the major airlines, too. Airfares are up about $10 roundtrip to cover increased fuel costs.

Getaways are going to cost more too, just like last year.

Travel experts, like Orbitz representative Marita Hudson-Thomas, say people will adapt, just like last year.

"We had the exact same concerns, there were rising gas prices,” stated Hudson-Thomas. “We had 81 percent of people tell us, 'I don't care. I'm taking my vacation, period, end of discussion. I'll find a way to do it."

That's why the experts are really emphasizing cost-saving tips this year.

"If you do things like eat one meal a day in your room - I do this with my family - if you eat breakfast in your room every morning, that's going to save you big," said Hudson-Thomas. “"Also, buying packages saves a great deal. If you buy air and hotel, or air, car, and hotel together instead of stand-alone, you are going to save money on that trip."

Saving money is behind an expected rise of ‘staycations’ this year, too, or at least staying close by.

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