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Memorial Day travel to climb in spite of high gas prices

May 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Memorial Day travel rush is on, and more people are expected to hit the road despite high prices at the pump.

Gas prices in May are actually slightly lower than what they were in April. Across Los Angeles, Orange, Inland Empire and Ventura counties, gas prices average from $4.01 to $4.09, which is down 14 to 16 cents from last month.

However, even with the slightly lower prices, the cost at the pump is still weighing heavily on travelers' wallets.

Some say gas prices are so high, they sometimes skip paying a bill to fill up their tank.

"Electric bill, gas bill, water bill - whatever it takes to get to where I need to go," said Fontana resident Christine Rohaly.

Fontana resident Greg Conley and girlfriend Alma Linda planned a weekend getaway to the river, but staying thrifty proved to be a challenge as the gas kept eating away at their budget.

To keep a tight rein on funds, Californians are staying close to home for the holiday weekend. According to AAA, the top Memorial Day destinations are Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Central Coast and Disneyland.

Another Fontana resident Gaby La Porto said she and her family members are going no further than their backyard this holiday to avoid the gouge at the pump.

"Just take it in stride. You'll be grateful for what you have and stay home and be grateful with that," La Porto said.

Still, travel forecasters say some 35 million people will be driving 50 miles or more over the long weekend, which marks a small increase from 2010.

Experts predict some vacationers will spend approximately $700 for the entire weekend. That figure is $100 less than last year.

If you're opting for air travel, officials project busier times at Los Angeles International Airport. More than 810,000 air travelers are expected to pass through the airport during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That number marks a 5.4-percent increase from last year, which is a sign of economic upturn.

Over the course of the summer, LAX officials expect 18 million people to pass through the terminals.

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