Four State residents travel despite rising fuel costs

Record high gas prices are impacting basically anyone hitting the road this summer. As drivers voice their frustrations, one local travel agent says she's seeing more people traveling than before the pandemic

JOPLIN, Mo.–Record-high gas prices are impacting basically anyone hitting the road this summer. As drivers voice their frustrations, one local travel agent says she’s seeing more people traveling than before the pandemic

The Missouri welcome center right off of highway I-44 has seen travelers from all over, all worried about the same issue…rising fuel costs.

A study from the American Hotel and Lodging Association found that roughly 60% of Americans said they would take more trips this year compared with last year, although they found higher prices are causing travelers to scale back their summer plans.

One man traveling stopping into Joplin from Arizona, Kenneth Wojcicki, said while he didn’t have any issues planning his trip due to gas prices, he did struggle with the cost of hotels.

“Hotels are outrageously priced. I don’t know why they raise their prices,” he said.

Joplin travel agent Terry Littleton, says despite high prices, she’s seen an increase in local residents traveling this summer due to being unable to during the pandemic.

“A lot of people are traveling. They’re fulfilling their dreams or their bucket lists. and even with the price of fuel and everything going up right now, I think more people are concentrating on spending their money on experiences and services. And they’re not too worried yet about the inflation. But I think that will eventually hit home,” said Littleton, owner of Reservation Travel Services. 

Littleton added that due to the price of fuel the cost of flying has gone up too but says so far, her clients seem unaffected.

“Air prices are probably 30 to 35% more than last year. And with the cost of fuel, I assume it’ll probably go up more. So far, everybody…they understand it and they are still booking right now.”

But not everyone is ok with forking over extra money for a summer trip.

“And the prices. and fuel for planes, which in turn is ticket prices to us. ridiculous. We’re thinking about not going to Hawaii this year because it’s going to cost…it’s going to be over $1,000 this time,” said Trisha Herring, another traveler stopping by Joplin. 

Littleton said the best way to get more bang for your buck? Plan in advance.

“The good thing about booking in advance is you can pay, you know, most, most of the time if it’s a package deal or cruise, you know, you can put down a deposit and then your final payment’s not due for a few more months. Depending on how far out you’re booking. But then that allows people to kind of pay a little bit of time and not have to just whip out a bunch of money all at once.”

If you are traveling this summer, it may be hard to avoid inflation during your trip, as experts say there is no immediate end in sight to rising fuel costs.