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Memorial Day Weekend travel unfazed by spiking gas, airline ticket prices

Travelers are hitting the road in record numbers despite skyrocketing costs.

SEATTLE — Expensive gas and high-priced airline tickets aren’t stopping many from hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend. Deadest on getting out of town, Kristian Budchanin had to get creative.

“We looked at different dates and this ended up being the least expensive – so we had to shorten the trip from what we wanted because flying out a certain day was better than the other so definitely challenging to fly right now,” Budchanin said from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Budchanin piecemealed a trip from Seattle to Nashville by buying different legs on different airlines.

“The last two months that we – we need to fly there because that’s going to be our future home – to pay almost a thousand dollars for tickets, that’s insane,” Budchanin continued.

Numbers released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) show that on the Friday before Memorial Day, more than 2.3 million travelers passed through checkpoints nationwide, approaching a 25 percent increase.

“It was crowded, the plane was way fuller on the way up here and I assume it’s going to be that on the way back,” said Greg Bartlet of California.

Many still are opting to drive despite higher gas prices. In Washington state, the average for a gallon of gas is up nearly two bucks a gallon – from $3.56 in 2021 to today’s average of is $5.22. The line for the border crossing into Canada offered further evidence of this backlog on the roads – some drivers passing the Peace Arch reported a two-hour wait.

Travel numbers both by air and on the highway are up, closing in on pre-pandemic levels. 

An increase across the board that is coming at a price.

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