Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Costs of Traveling by Car Inch Upward

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Costs of Traveling by Car Inch Upward

Article excerpt

TRAVELING BY CAR this summer is going to cost 3 percent more than last year.

The American Automobile Association says a family of two adults and two children will spend an average of $221.80 a day - $6.50 more than last summer - for meals, lodging and vehicle operating costs.

The average daily cost of lodging, the AAA says, will be $91, based on a two-person, two-bed rate and $12 extra for two children. Meal expenses are figured at $102 a day, excluding tips and cocktails.

The cost of operating a vehicle - fuel, oil, tires and maintenance - will rise $1.50 to $28.80 for a 300-mile trip, in a car averaging 21 miles to the gallon.

The last major jump in travel costs was in 1991, when expenses rose 5 percent. Last year, vacation costs dropped 30 cents.

AAA based its accommodations and dining figures on rates and prices listed in its Tour Book guides and the motoring costs on its annual "Your Driving costs" study, available free at AAA offices.

In planning a vacation trip, travelers should set aside money for amusements, admission fees, tolls, shopping, parking and tipping, AAA suggests. The association also advises budgeting for unexpected expenses.

In general, AAA says, the most expensive lodging is found in the West, where the average cost is $90.59 a night; the lowest in the Midwest, where costs average $68.54. Meal costs were the highest in the Mid-Atlantic states, averaging $122.29 a day and lowest in the Midwest at $83.02.

Money can obviously be saved by searching out budget accommodations and lodging where children stay free. AAA also suggests eating the main meal at noon, when prices are lower, or taking advantage of early bird dinner specials.

Yosemite Camping

Camping at Tuolomne Meadows, one of Yosemite National Park's High Sierra campgrounds, will be delayed this summer because of a thick spring snowpack and construction on sewer lines. The meadow is the area's second most popular destination after Yosemite Valley.

The campground, which usually opens by late June, is not expected to open until mid-August, according to Marla Shenk, a park spokeswoman. …

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