TOLEDO - Travelers will not see any relief in their wallet this year with the overall cost of taking a vacation increasing by 5.4 percent from last year, according to AAA’s Annual Vacation Costs survey.
“Rate increases for lodgings are mostly a result of supply and demand, especially in major markets,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Tourism Information Development, which oversees the popular AAA Diamond Ratings. “For both lodgings and restaurants, rising energy costs as well as salary and benefit costs are certainly having an impact.”
AAA’s survey shows that a family of two adults and two children can expect to pay an average $261 per day for food and lodging. Lodging rates will average $141 a night, up nearly 9 percent from last year. Meals will cost $120, up nearly 2 percent from 2005.
The most expensive state for vacationers remains Hawaii, where the daily cost of food and lodging for a family of four will average $559 per day. Other destinations with a high average daily cost include the District of Columbia at $518; Nevada, $348; Rhode Island, $329; and New York, $329.
Travelers looking for bargains should look at these least expensive states: North Dakota and Nebraska, with an average daily cost of $191; Kansas, $193; Iowa, $196; and Oklahoma, $200.
Rising gas prices coupled with the increase in vacation costs makes it important for travelers to maximize their vacation dollars. AAA’s online Search for Savings feature (www.aaa.com/save) enables consumers to look for discounts at home or at their vacation destination. AAA members saved more than $513 million in 2005 by asking for their AAA discount.
Auto travelers can help avoid costly repairs and inefficient fuel use by having their vehicle checked out by a “AAA Approved” auto repair facility before starting their trips. Consumers also can save by booking accommodations in advance to ensure availability, selection and the best rate. Consider getting a room with a kitchen to cut down on meal costs and use the Internet to search for good deals.
AAA has been tracking vacation costs since 1950 when the average daily cost of meals and lodgings for a family of four was $13.
AAA’s meal and lodging costs are based on prices from more than 55,000 lodgings and restaurants listed in AAA’s TourBook® guides, the most widely distributed travel guidebook series in North America.