As pandemic restrictions come to an end, many British Columbians seem to have been bitten by the travel bug and are eager to leave home this summer.
However, with skyrocketing gas prices and flight requests, it can be difficult to find the most cost-effective way to make the most of your vacation.
According to the travel agency KAYAK, prices for summer flights have increased by 31% overall. Prices for domestic flights increased by 20% and international travel by 17%.
For those looking to hit the road rather than the sky, prices are only going up – domestic rental car prices have increased by 111% and international rental car prices by 17%.
To help travelers make the best decisions, KAYAK has released a Trip Calculator, which gathers data on flight and driving options based on trip details and dates.
A new BCAA survey released in June found that despite some of the highest gas prices in the country, British Columbians are still planning to take road trips this summer – but are adjusting their plans.
While 77% of British Columbians say high gas prices are making road trips “too expensive” this year, a large majority (69%) are still planning a road trip for the holidays.
“All of those things that we like to do – take the scenic route, go a little farther to see what’s on the other side of the lake – may have to wait for gas prices to come down. It looks like this could be a year where many of us decide to drive straight to our destination and just stay there,” said Josh Smythe, BCAA Automotive Manager.
BCAA tips include:
- Route plan for a shorter trip: plan the most direct route possible. Use GPS, maps, whatever it takes to avoid drifting. When choosing a vacation spot, consider somewhere closer to the activities, where you can park and walk to explore.
- Driving in Vacation Mode: When planning routes, look for ways to get there that don’t require as many stops and starts. Save gas by slowing down, driving smoothly at consistent speeds within the speed limit, and avoiding jackrabbit starts and hard braking. “Drive cool, like you’ve already taken a vacation,” suggests Smythe.
- Air conditioning: The air conditioning uses engine power which consumes fuel. To save gas, Smythe recommends trying the simple choice first: open the windows a few inches for air circulation before hitting the AC button.
- Lighten your load: Carrying excess weight wastes gas, so travel light and clean the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. For necessities, pay attention to their arrangement and distribute the weight evenly. Remove your roof rack/box when not in use to reduce wind resistance. If you can rent equipment at your destination, this might be the year for it, as RV tow trailers are very fuel efficient.
- Fill up: A full tank of gas can add weight, but it’s not worth driving with less because you’ll waste fuel looking for a gas station. Also, resist the urge to use cheaper non-recommended fuels for your vehicles to save money. In the long run, you’ll pay more for repairs.
- Tune Up Before You Go: A properly tuned vehicle with properly inflated tires improves fuel economy. Tires can change pressure depending on the weather, so for the best fuel economy, Smythe recommends that each time you fill your tank, check that your tire pressure is at the manufacturer’s recommended level.