Will spike in oil prices change your travel plans?

By Keith Still

Every time the price of oil spikes, it seems, stories start popping up about how gas prices may scare travelers into staying home. Or how this travel season’s hottest trend will be the “staycation.” There’s good reason for the predictability of those news reports, though, because high fuel prices do affect travelers’ plans in a pretty predictable way.

The most dramatic way, perhaps, is that skyrocketing costs at the pumps can be the deciding factor for some travelers, actually keeping them home altogether. Those who do venture out of town may change their plans – opt for a shorter trip; stay in a cheaper hotel; eat out less/choose less pricey restaurants while on vacation; or spend fewer dollars on souvenirs and entertainment. People talk about oil being a limited natural resource, but for many of us, cold, hard cash is our most scarce commodity.

The bad thing about high fuel costs is that they’re difficult to escape. Don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars filling up the family truckster to drive to Wally World? Well, expensive oil means the price of hopping a plane is going to cost more too. (If you’re heading abroad, it has gotten really expensive, as fuel surcharges alone on a round-trip ticket to Europe have passed $400, a FareCompare.com rep said in the report above.) Add to that the number of flight reductions (because of oil), and the possibility of getting away for a little rest and relaxation anywhere in the coming weeks or months can seem daunting.

So what’s a traveler to do? Obviously, now is the time to keep a sharp eye out for a good deal. While the “good” part of the deal may be in the eye of the beholder, recent history has shown that the travel industry will try to lure oil-shocked travelers to their resorts and attractions with all sorts of bargains. Whether it’s a gas card to reward you for making the trip, or reduced rates on lodging to lure you away from home, it is possible overcome the panic at the petrol pump and still get away for a vacation.

So, how will rising gas prices affect your travel plans? Will you stay home? Look out for deals? Cut back on the time or money you spend while you’re away? Or take the exact trip you wanted and worry about the prices later?

Where do you go to look for travel deals? How good does a deal have to be to you to offset rising fuel costs? At what point does the price of fuel become too high for you to travel?

11 comments Add your comment

KDAWG

March 9th, 2011
9:37 am

KDAWG

March 9th, 2011
9:37 am

Oh, an probably not. If things get super crazy (i.e. $5/gal), then heck yes.

BigDawg

March 9th, 2011
9:38 am

Will cut back in other areas to be able to travel

joe

March 9th, 2011
9:58 am

Yes, I’m buying a motorcycle…the 80-miles per gallon is necessary now.

Rich White Guy

March 9th, 2011
10:18 am

No change in plans here. I have so much money that the small increase in gas prices is negligible. My 10-mile-a-gallon landcruiser is like a living room on wheels. I love Sunday afternoon drives with no particluar place to go.

Ezra

March 9th, 2011
10:19 am

Yep, my change of plan is to pass all the expenses onto the very elite. I will increase prices little for the middleclass but the wealthy and the politicians I will increase by huge amounts. It is the present leadersship policy to make Americans suffer because they are stupid, arrogant, or simply not liked by other nations. The present leadership has no energy policy except to cripple an oil based economy.

Barry

March 9th, 2011
10:19 am

At $5 a gallon, I promise you the economy will collapse. There is no economic recovery as the main stream media states, here’s why:

1. 44 million people on food stamps-all time high
2. Over 1 million foreclosures in 2010-all time high
3. Food Price Index-all time high currently
4. 20% plus real unemployment rate-if you believe the government’s number of 8.9% you’re a moron.
5. Homes sales and home values are weak
6. Increasing trade deficits with China and other nations
7. Manufacturing jobs in the US have moved out of the country
8. 14 trillion dollar deficit and Congress may raise the debt ceiling
9. State pension crisis
10. California, Illinois, and several other states virtually bankrupt
11. Municipal bond crisis for local governments set to explode
12. Social Security is already in the red
13. The value of the dollar is declining

Where is this economic recovery?

Rich White Guy

March 9th, 2011
10:50 am

Barry – don’t be such a Negative Nancy!

BillS

March 9th, 2011
10:58 am

Rich White Guy, love the irony.

kitty

March 9th, 2011
11:11 am

I consider this extortion and hope everyone curbs driving to cut down on the demand for such a pricey item!

Samantha

March 9th, 2011
2:27 pm

My fiance and I typically take 2 “big” vacations a year. I think that will stay the same. We also usually fly domestically for “mini” vacations once a month. When we consider the rapid increase in airfare, we will probably cut down on our domestic vacations; opting to go once every other month or so. One good thing that I have seen (and taken advantage of) are specials on hotels. I recently booked a hotel in San Francisco for 50% off. That is a huge deal and helps ease the pain of the high airfares.
I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the price of fuel comes down and airlines lower their fares.