The Chicago Tribune is reporting what I’ve suspected: that more families are taking to the road for their destinations instead of flying.
It’s a resurgence fed by cheaper gas, childhood memories and a general reluctance to splurge by people who are fearful for their jobs, travel analysts said.
Others are fed up with air travel, preferring the grind of the road to delays and fees. The final straw for the Duliks: paying a total of $400 to redeem airline miles for a trip to Hawaii and then retrieving those miles when they had to cancel the outing.
It isn’t just anecdotal evidence that more people are flocking again to our highways:
Orlando felt the shift last year. During the first nine months of 2008, more out-of-state visitors drove to the central Florida tourist hub than flew — a reversal from previous years — Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc. said.
AAA Chicago has seen a 25 percent surge so far this year in requests for TripTik, a mapping service for motorists plotting long car trips. Orlando is the top destination for its Chicago-area members this year, said Lisa Duryea, district manager for the automobile club.
It’s not surprising the airlines are hurting. The advantage it once had for speedier travel has been largely erased by the security hassles, flight delays and tack-on fees. And during a weak economy, travelers are rediscovering that road trips are easier on a budget.