Basic travel tips can make the holiday weekend more enjoyable

BOISE – (May 23, 2018) – Higher gas prices are here to stay – with many motorists paying the most since 2014 – but nearly two million more Americans will hit the road for a Memorial Day getaway this year, bringing the total to 41.5 million travelers. Nearly 220,000 Idahoans will be among them, according to new projections by AAA.


Preventive maintenance

AAA expects to rescue roughly 340,000 U.S. drivers over the long weekend. The main problems will be weak batteries, ineffective engine cooling systems, flat tires, and vehicle lockouts.

“A quick visual inspection can identify maintenance issues and help avoid a major headache at the roadside,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Look for underinflated tires, corrosion on battery terminals, low fluid levels, and any drips or leaks under the vehicle.  All of these can be easily addressed before the holiday weekend, but the time to act is now.”

AAA encourages drivers to get their car into a repair shop to top off fluids and resolve any other issues as early in the week as possible.


Travel and packing advice

“It’s a good idea to pack two days before leaving on a plane or road trip,” Conde suggested. “That way, you can avoid a last-minute scramble that can prevent a good night’s sleep before you leave.”

AAA advises travelers not to stress out over packing – focus on the essentials, such as medications.


Use technology wisely

“Your mobile phone can be your best friend this holiday weekend,” Conde said. “Use your camera to photograph parking space numbers so you don’t forget them, and always take a group photo of your family before heading to crowded places in case you get separated and need to quickly describe the missing person.  You can also use various apps, including the AAA Mobile App, to research the cheapest fuel in the area and find local attractions that offer some type of discount.”

Drivers should avoid distraction by having a co-pilot work the phone while the vehicle is in motion.


Rest along the way

“Every couple of hours, take a quick rest break from driving,” Conde said. “Drivers should switch off for longer drives, or build in some sight-seeing along the way to break up the monotony.”


Gas price update

“Pump prices continue to climb. Based on current data, families will spend $200 more to fill up this summer over last,” Conde said.  “With gas inventories in the Rockies region a million barrels below last year, there is a strong possibility that higher gas prices will remain in our immediate future.”

Today, the U.S. average is $2.95, which is 19 cents higher than a month ago and 59 cents more than a year ago. Idaho’s prices are higher still – at $3.16, Gem State drivers are paying 11 cents more than a month ago and 61 cents more than a year ago.  Idaho has the 7th highest gas prices in the country, joining neighbors Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah on the Top Ten list.

“Try to design your road trip to avoid doubling back, and remove the cargo box from your roof if you don’t need it, because the extra drag can impact your overall fuel economy.” Conde advised. “You can also capture some savings by driving closer to the speed limit – some studies have shown that a reduction of 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent.”

Here’s a snapshot of gas prices across the Gem State: Ammon, $3.12; Athol, $3.06; Blackfoot, $3.14; Boise, $3.23; Bonners Ferry, $3.13; Burley, $3.14; Cascade, $3.40; Challis, $3.19; Coeur d’Alene, $3.02; Dalton Gardens, $3.02; Donnelly, $3.26; Emmett, $3.20; Franklin, $3.14; Fruitland, $3.20; Gooding, $3.09; Greenleaf, $3.24; Hayden Lake, $3.02; Horseshoe Bend, $3.22; Idaho Falls, $3.13; Kamiah, $3.08; Ketchum, $3.27; Lapwai, $3.15; Lewiston, $3.17; Marsing, $3.00; Mountain Home, $3.13; New Plymouth, $3.20; Orofino, $3.16; Parma, $3.24; Pocatello, $3.17, Post Falls, $3.05; Rexburg, $3.17; Sandpoint, $3.06; Soda Springs, $3.20; St. Maries, $3.12; Teton, $3.19; Twin Falls, $3.12; Wallace, $3.15; Weiser, $3.21.