Travel plans hampered by economic conditions




The downward spiral of the U.S. economy as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing some vacationers to alternate or outright cancel travel plans this summer as fuel costs hover near $5. the gallon in summer.

Fayette Township’s Marcus Smith typically likes to pack up his family and vacation at a seaside destination along the east coast each summer as his children break away from the routine of school hours, but this year may feel different.

Instead of traveling nearly 1,000 miles to their favorite sandy destination, the Smith family plans to stay somewhat local and are busily preparing for their July vacation in Michigan.

“We’re disappointed, of course, but the kids can’t wait to explore South Haven and Sleeping Bear Dunes this summer,” Smith said. “My own dad took us camping all over Michigan when we were kids and those memories are some of the best I have when I was a kid.”

As the Smith family alternate plans, others cancel outright.

“Most of us seniors live on fixed incomes and we just can’t afford to travel like we planned on in retirement,” Loretta James said. “Everything has gone up in price…my medicine, groceries, cable TV and gas are the worst.”

James said she plans to stay put for the summer instead of traveling to visit her sister in Phoenix as she had planned.

Others find refuge in shorter, more convenient trips to Hocking Hills, Ohio, or Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Richard Davis, now retired from Ford Motor Company after 42 years in manufacturing, is set to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior this fall.

He and his partner, Cheyenne, bought a travel trailer four years ago and enjoy traveling to various area campgrounds exploring Michigan.

“We haven’t crossed the bridge yet, but it’s on our to-do list,” Davis said. “You don’t have to go to Florida to find a scenic beach…they’re everywhere in Michigan.”

Davis may be busy planning his bucket list trip, which will include a stop in Kitchitikipee and a stay in Escanaba, but he canceled two other small businesses in Traverse City in June and Mackinac this summer as part of an economic approach.

“Nobody really knows with this economy,” Davis said. “And I thought the 70s were bad.”

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