We’ll be hitting the road for Labor Day
Despite rising gas prices, 33 million Americans plan to travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day weekend, a 2.9 percent increase from last year, according to AAA. That’s the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007.
A gallon of gas now costs an average of $3.72. That’s up about 40 cents from July 1, although still down 22 cents from the peak reached in early April. Experts say gas could rise to around $3.75 per gallon by the holiday weekend.
The overwhelming majority of travelers — 85 percent — plan to drive to their destination. Once there, they will find hotel rooms costing 4 to 6 percent higher than last year.
Families planning to get away plan to spend $749, according to an economic model done for AAA. That’s up from $702 last year.
“In the absence of strong economic growth that might fuel a significant boost in travel volume, it is an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel,” Bill Sutherland, vice president of AAA Travel Services said in a statement. “Travel is still within America’s discretionary spending budget.”
Of those who plan to travel, 66 percent said their current financial situation would not negatively impact their Labor Day holiday weekend travel plans, 21 percent said they will cut costs in other parts of their budget, 9 percent will shorten their trip and 4 percent will cut transportation costs.
Ikea plans budget hotel chain
Best known for its budget flat-pack furniture, Scandinavian retailer Ikea is planning to launch a chain of budget hotels in Europe. The first two hotels are expected to open in Germany in 2014. As many as 100 are planned.
“We’re aiming to spread all over Europe,” said Harald Muller, a Brussels-based business development manager of Inter Ikea’s property division. Although the chain won’t use Ikea’s name or furniture, it will engrain the Ikea philosophy of “good quality at a reasonable price,” he said, adding that the hotels will have a Scandinavian “feel” because the interior will be made by Nordic designers.
Four destinations offer single pass
Four of the top ski destinations in the West are offering a single pass for the upcoming season.
The resorts include Alta in Utah, Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, Jackson Hole in Wyoming and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in California.
The Mountain Collective Pass will cost $349 and includes two free days at each of the four destinations, plus a 50 percent discount on unlimited lift tickets at each one.
Aspen Skiing Co. vice president Christian Knapp said the collective pass is a new concept that gives winter sports enthusiasts a wide range of choices.
Airport police reassigned
Mexico’s federal police have replaced all 348 officers assigned to security details at the Mexico City International Airport in the wake of the June 25 shooting deaths of three federal policemen killed by fellow officers believed to be involved in trafficking drugs through the terminal.
Federal Police regional security chief Luis Cardenas Palomino said the police agents have been reassigned to different states. They have been replaced by federal police who have passed double vetting and background checks.
The rogue officers were allegedly part of a trafficking ring that flew in cocaine from Peru.