The summer travel season starts next weekend and while some may think higher gas prices, airfare, and hotel rates may have some thinking twice, that’s not necessarily the case. Instead, the director of Burlington International Airport expects turnout to be high.
One of the main reasons is people are saying they want to get out of their homes.
Sylvia Daubenspeck, a recently retired Vermont resident says his son lives in California and only comes to visit once every three years. “He did this summer only because he wanted to visit relatives that are there and getting kind of old but it was expensive.”
Daubenspeck is also worried about inflation. “The high gas prices definitely impacts whether my kids come around to see me and to travel across country.”
The high prices have some asking themselves difficult questions.
[Libby Connors, Vermont Resident]
Libby Connors, a Vermont resident explained her thought process. “Can I start spending an excessive amount of money just to get to a vacation or do I need to start thinking about at home staycation wise?”
For David Williams, there wasn’t much of a choice as his daughter graduates from UVM this weekend. He made the trip from New Orleans and he’s seen the prices go up steadily. “I would say 30, 40% in the past two years,” said Williams. He says the pandemic postponed family vacations.
“We usually take a family vacation at least one or two a year and we haven’t done it in years.”
With many people making up for lost time, the staff at Burlington International is ready for a busy summer.
“There is a large number of leisure travelers that are traveling, and the business base is coming back,” said Shelby Loggia, Director of Ground Transportation at BTV Airport.
Vermont hotels are also gearing up to welcome tourists back for the warm weather, especially for those from the Canadian border.
[Anderson James, PR and Marketing Manager, Lodge at Spruce Peak]
“That was a big market we missed for a few years there,” said Anderson James, PR and Marketing Manager at the Lodge at Spruce Peak. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Montreal and everyone from Quebec and Ontario.”
[Betsy Bishop, Vermont Chamber of Commerce]
“Vermont is a day’s drive from 80 million people,” said Betsy Bishop of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “When you think about Montreal, New York City, Boston and surrounding areas, those are the people who visit us the most.”
All those tourists could mean big business. A week from today marks what typically is the start of the summer travel season and AAA predicts nearly 40 million people will travel for Memorial Day weekend, which would put it back up to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.