Memorial Day travel to SWFL holds strong, despite AAA predictions
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED May. 26, 2013
Lee County, Fla. - Travel to Southwest Florida appeared to be holding strong over Memorial Day weekend, despite early predictions by AAA.
The motorist group projected that travel over the three-day weekend would be down about a percent this year, from last year. AAA also predicted that airfare would be taking the biggest hit, with an eight percent decrease.
"We fly when we need to and we drive when we need to also," said Meera Popkin-Tarack, visiting from New Jersey.
She told Fox 4 that she found an online special that allowed her to catch affordable tickets for her family.
Other travelers took the amount of time they would save by flying instead of driving into consideration.
"Three and a half hours versus three days, I think I'll take three hours," said Suzie Gulden, visiting from Minneapolis.
Others admitted while flying may be more convenient, the additional fees are still hurting their pockets.
"Oh just the baggag fees. They get you with the $25," said Alyssa Ferrucci. She was in town with six other family members for a wedding in Naples. After the wedding they are headed to a cruise out of Miami. That means lots of bags - and lots of fees - for their extended stay.
This attitude is exactly what AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelne called "fee fatigue" in a statement he released last week.
That "fee fatigue" was enough to keep most travelers on the roads. AAA reports that an estimated 89% of travelers would choose the roads over the sky to make it to their Memoridal Day weekend destination.
With the national average for a gallon of regular gas holding steady with last year's prices at $3.63, drivers say it made the decision easy.
"The gas prices weren't bad compared to what it would have cost to fly," said Ken Kensille who drove from Pensylvania. "We sent five of us down here. Per plane ticket we saved a lot of money driving."