The staycation of 2008 fame appears to be making a comeback as rising gas and other prices continue to squeeze family budgets, according to the American Automobile Associations annual forecast for the Memorial Day holiday.
While six out of ten people surveyed for the forecast told AAA rising gasoline prices would not impact their travel plans, 30 percent of the remainder said they would take a shorter trip or travel by an alternate mode of transportation to adjust to gas prices that are about $1 higher than a year ago.
Travelers said they expect transportation to account for 31 cents of every dollar they spend over the holiday, compared to 25 cents a year ago. They will adjust by spending nearly 14 percent less on shopping – 25 cents of every dollar compared to 29 in 2010 – and shifting to less expensive activities, including visiting the beach, sightseeing, hiking, historic and state parks and nature trips. Just 8 percent said they planned to golf, down from 11 percent a year ago.
The percentage of respondents saying they would participate in touring/sightseeing or Observe & conserve nature/culture-Eco Travel, each rose 7 points to 37 and 11 percent respectively. Those planning to hike/bike rose 6 points to 25 percent. The percentage saying they would dine, shop, visit museums, art exhibits, etc., gamble or attend concerts plays, dances, meanwhile, declined between 9 and 12 percentage points.
The outdoor recreation community appeared poised last week to capitalize on the trend, particularly in major cities. On Saturday, The North Face, the American Hiking Society, the National Park Trust, Leave No Trace and state parks hosted National Kids to Parks Day at Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, VA. Similar events are planned for the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Denver, Portland, and Minneapolis/Saint Paul between now and October as part of a seven-city tour aimed at getting urban families to parks and other close-to-home outdoor venues as part of Michelle Obamas Lets Move! campaign against childhood obesity.