June 18, 2008 / 11:09 AM / 10 years ago

More Americans stay home July 4 as fuel, fares up: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More Americans are choosing to celebrate the July 4 weekend at home this year amid a climate of soaring fuel prices and jitters about rising airline fares, according to a poll on travel plans.

An Albanian holds up a U.S. flag as President George W. Bush's motorcade passes through central Tirana, June 10, 2007. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

An online survey of 1,000 adults by travel Web site Travelzoo.com found that 82 percent of people are planning to stay home on Independence Day on July 4, a five percent increase from last year.

But rising fuel prices are only partly to blame for people’s reluctance to travel, said Los Angeles-based Travelzoo.com editor Gabe Saglie.

“There’s no question that fuel prices are going up, but that comes along with increased foreclosures, the credit crunch, rising milk prices,” Saglie told Reuters.

“We’re really in a tenuous place right with the economy in terms of how people live their lives day-to-day.”

About 60 percent of those questioned said it would be more difficult to find affordable plane tickets than to host a July 4 barbecue for a large group.

But a lot of the price hikes that people are concerned about haven’t kicked in just yet, Saglie said.

In fact, he said airfares and hotel accommodation are priced quite competitively during the summer months and airline fares won’t see a significant rise until September.

“That’s when a lot of what we’re hearing about in terms of diminished capacity and increased fares will go into effect,” he said.

This year July 4 falls on a Friday, making it a prime weekend for a getaway, with 18 percent of respondents said they were planning to travel in spite of high travel costs.

Writing by Lara Hertel; editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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