That archetypal family vacation, with the kids whining in the back seat about when you're going to get there, is going to cost 15 percent more in gas alone than last year, and 48 percent more than in 1999.
That's if you're driving a "typical" car, like a Ford Taurus, and it's finely tuned to get 25 miles to a gallon of regular gas.
Driving from, say, Washington D.C., to the Grand Canyon? Expect to pay compared with $273 last year (and $211 in 1999). That's just for driving straight there and back, with no side trips to the world's biggest ball of twine or oldest adobe hut.
Food and lodging will cost about 5 percent more than last year, according to a study released by AAA. Mom, Dad and two kids will pay a daily average of $223. Save the most by going to North Dakota, where $167 a day is average. Most expensive: Hawaii, at $417.
But rising prices aren't expected to deter travelers. AAA's annual Memorial Day survey projects a record 3.42 million Americans plan to travel then, and summer travel overall is expected to increase.
"Americans may not be in a big spending mood, but they will be in the mood to travel," said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes.
Travelers who feel they were scammed by Med Resorts International, a k a World Connections, might finally get a little redress.
The Washington Post began warning travelers about the prepaid travel package company in March last year. In August, the Virginia attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission sued, charging that the company used deceptive practices.
Recently, the federal district court approved the sale of all of Med Resorts' assets. As part of a settlement agreement, the company and its owner, J. George Claveau, agreed to pay at least $3 million into a consumer redress fund.
Med Resorts/World Connections victims can call 800-355-0300 for information on obtaining refunds. "Due to an overwhelming number of calls," the number is frequently busy, but calls are eventually returned. Don't, however, expect to get all your money back: 69,000 others are in line.
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