INDIANAPOLIS — With increased COVID-19 vaccinations, Memorial Day will look a little different this year compared to last, and more Hoosiers are hitting the road this time.
According to AAA, 794,000 Hoosiers are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend — a 58% increase from 2020. Despite this year’s jump, travel is still down 13% compared to 2019’s peak travel year.
“As more people get vaccinated, they’re becoming more comfortable with the idea of travel,” said Andrew Gross, a spokesperson for AAA. “But there’s still some travel hesitancy.”
That is why more and more Hoosiers are choosing to travel by car — 756,000 to be exact. Gross said it is a trend AAA is seeing nationwide, but drivers will notice it most when they are paying at the pump.
“This year the gas price is higher and it’s the highest we’ve seen in six years,” said Gross.
Right now, the average price per gallon across the nation is $3.04. One year ago, the price was $1.97.
“We all want to get out there and have a good time and really get back to the normal,” said Mary Kay Foster, a nurse at IU Health Methodist Hospital. “I think it’s important to do that, but I think we need to be cautious with that.”
Foster agrees it is time for Hoosiers to travel again, and she said traveling by car is the safest way to do that. Still, she recommends planning ahead for your destination’s local guidelines.
“‘What is their COVID outbreak rate right now? How much of their folks are vaccinated?’ Those are the things I would want to know when I’m getting ready to travel some place,” said Foster.
Foster also recommends packing a mask and hand sanitizer regardless of your vaccination status. She is urging parents to remain vigilant when it comes to their children who are not yet vaccinated, as they can transmit the virus to vulnerable adults.
“If we can get through this holiday and not see a bump [in cases] in another 2-3 weeks, then I feel good that we’re going to have a good safe 4th of July.”
To view the average gas prices where you are traveling, click here.
“If you are a AAA member and have your AAA app, it will show you along the route all the gas stations and the prices,” said Gross. “But if you don’t have the app and you’re just driving down the road, be mindful of the fact that the gas station right at the exit of the highway usually will have the highest prices. That station that’s maybe a mile down the exit will tend to have lower prices.”