High gas prices not stopping holiday travel


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At this point, we’ve all probably realized we’re paying more at the pump. However, AAA told KSHB 41 News although prices are higher this year than they were last year, people are still going on their Memorial Day weekend trips.

“AAA is still expecting more Americans to travel for this Memorial Day holiday than last year, and this puts us pretty close to where we were in 2019, in terms of travel figure just prior to the pandemic,” Nick Chabarria, spokesperson for AAA Missouri, said.

Chabarria said people are likely feeling much more comfortable taking trips this year, especially since COVID restrictions were lifted.

And, they might not even care about how much gas is; they just want to travel.

“If they want to travel, they still will and they’ll find ways to save money in their trip elsewhere, and that may be eating out less while on vacation or finding more economic accommodations,” Chabarria said.

Gas prices are just under $4 a gallon in Kansas City, compared to around $2.75-2.85 this time last year.

However, our area still has some of the cheapest gas prices in the country. The national average is $4.59.

Before you hit the road for the holiday, AAA has a gas cost calculator on its website. You enter a starting and an ending destination, your vehicle make and model and it will average out what it’ll cost to get there with current gas prices.

Some of the biggest travel destinations this year are beaches and places with outdoor activities, according to AAA.

Let’s say you’re driving to Rocky Mountain National Park in a Toyota Corolla. AAA says it’ll cost you about $153 roundtrip.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina will cost about $264 roundtrip.

Orlando, Florida will cost about $289 roundtrip.

But, that’s a lot of driving.

If you booked a last-minute flight today, May 23, for a trip Thursday through Monday, you’d be looking at around over $300 to Denver, over $500 to Charleston, and over $500 to Orlando.

AAA says we shouldn’t expect gas prices to go down this summer.

“We know there’s a lot at play right now with global oil and gas industries and unless something dramatic changes, prices are going to remain where they’re at or continue to go up,” Chabarria said.





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Gas prices hit record high as travel ramps up for Memorial Day weekend


COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Gas prices across the country are hitting record-highs just in time for the travel-heavy Memorial Day holiday.

AAA said Thursday that gas prices in Missouri are hitting new records every day since May 11. The nationwide average on Thursday is $4.59 and Missouri’s average is $4.19 — up $1.38 from this time last year.

Missouri has the fifth-lowest gas prices in the county; a few months ago it was battling for the lowest with Kansas.

“High demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel is putting upward pressure on oil prices which is causing prices to rise at the pump,” said AAA spokesperson Nick Chabarria.

However, AAA still expects Memorial Day travel to increase 5% from previous years.

“Despite record-high gas prices, AAA anticipates Memorial Day Weekend travel to be busy with 34.9 million Americans hitting the road,” Chabarria said.

AAA recommends safe driving to save on fuel prices. Speeding, accelerating and stopping quickly, idling the engine and not maintaining tires can result in using more gas than necessary.

Air travel is also expected to increase over Memorial Day weekend. Airline sales have been down since the pandemic began in 2020, but AAA expects Memorial Day this year to see levels close to 2019.

“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”

To save money on flights and hotel bookings, AAA recommends planning ahead. The best time to book a flight is two weeks ahead, according to AAA, when prices will be an average of $445 per ticket. Last-minute bookers may be paying nearly double that, at an average of $845 per ticket.

American Airlines expects more than 5,700 customers daily through Memorial Day weekend. Spokesperson Gianna Urgo said the busiest day at Columbia Regional airport will be Thursday, May 26 with 5,761 scheduled flights.



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High gas prices and summer travel


INDIANAPOLIS — Right now Hoosiers are paying more for gas than they ever have before. In Indiana, the average gallon of gas costs more than $4.50 on Tuesday, according to AAA’s gas price tracker.

With Memorial Day Weekend and summer break coming up, many families are getting ready to pack their bags to hit the roads or head to the airport for vacation. Lisa Wall with AAA said they do not expect these high gas prices to impact travel.

“Everything that we’re seeing is nothing is deterring travel resurgence,” Wall said.

AAA expects more than 39 million people to travel for Memorial Day Weekend, a would-be increase of 3 million people compared to 2021.

“Ninety percent of people are going to drive this Memorial Day Weekend, so that still seems to be the primary way that people are going to get to where they’re going,” Wall said.

Locally, Visit Indy isn’t expecting any drops in tourism in the Circle City.

“As a drivable, centrally located destination we typically do stay healthy even during rise in gas prices,” said Nate Swick, a spokesperson for Visit Indy.

The hope is high gas prices could even lead more people to taking the staycation route or choosing a shorter drive from home for a summer trip.

”There’s definitely a chance we’re going to get more visitors this summer because people might not be making that extended road trip,” Swick said.

Swick said tourism in Indianapolis is about 80 percent of what it was in 2019. They expect that number to continue to grow, especially with exposure from the championship sporting events Indy has hosted in the past few years.

“Our sporting events happened in the winter and early spring and Indy is a completely different place in the summer,” Swick said. “We’re hopeful some of those fans are coming back to give Indy another shot.”

Local travel agent Victoria Fricke said prices for flights are definitely up right now, but she can’t directly tie that to high fuel prices.

“An average trip to Mexico, from my perspective looking for my own tickets, was probably 200 to 250 more dollars than I would typically spend,” Fricke said.

Still, she said her clients are set on taking trips this summer, regardless of the cost, to get where they’re going. 

”They would rather make some sacrifices with the length of the trip or what they’re doing activity-wise,” Fricke said.

Wall said Memorial Day Weekend travel is expected to be 92 percent of what it was in 2019.



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CDC: British Virgin Islands at ‘high’ travel risk for Covid-19


(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added one destination — a relaxed Caribbean playground — to its “high” category for Covid-19 risk.

The British Virgin Islands moved up to Level 3 on Monday; it previously had been at Level 2.

The islands are known for the famous Virgin Gorda Baths (a bay dotted with giant granite boulders); water sports such as diving and sailing; and a pace that is more casual than some of the Caribbean’s hot spots.

Overall, this week’s CDC travel risk update saw little in the way of the dramatic shifts in status that characterized this past winter and early spring during the original Omicron variant surge.

The CDC recently overhauled its ratings system for assessing Covid-19 risk for travelers.

The Level 3 “high” risk category is now the top rung in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk, and Level 1 is “low” risk.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern or health care infrastructure collapse. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Level 4 so far.

Level 3

Customers sit on a terrace alongside a canal in Amsterdam, on April 28, 2021,

Amsterdam is blessed with urban biking and canals, but the Netherlands is still ranked “high” risk for Covid-19.

FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/AFP via Getty Images

In the CDC’s new system, the “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category applies to countries that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Much of Europe is still lodged there with the summer travel season getting ever closer. As of May 9, some popular European destinations remained at Level 3:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Portugal
• Spain
• United Kingdom

It’s not just European favorites that find themselves at Level 3. Other popular travel spots around the world still ranked at the high risk level:

• Brazil
• Canada
• Costa Rica
• Malaysia
• South Korea
• Thailand

There are almost 110 destinations at Level 3 this week. Level 3 locations now account for nearly half of the roughly 235 places monitored by the CDC.

The CDC advises that you get up-to-date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Level 3 destination. “Up-to-date” includes not only the full initial vaccinations but any boosters for which you’re eligible.
The CDC does not include the United States in its list of advisories, but on its color-coded map of the world, the CDC had it at Level 3 on Monday.

Level 2

The Temple of Hercules at the Amman Citadel. Jordan was moved to "moderate" risk by the CDC.

The Temple of Hercules at the Amman Citadel. Jordan was moved to “moderate” risk by the CDC.

Maurizio De Mattei/Adobe Stock

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Seven destinations — spread all around the planet — were moved to this level on Monday:

• The Bahamas
• Fiji
• Jordan
• Mongolia
• Namibia
• Paraguay
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The move to Level 2 was a step back for the Bahamas, Namibia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which had been at Level 1.

But the move was good news for tourism-dependent Fiji, along with Jordan and Mongolia, which had been at Level 3. Paraguay was previously “unknown.” Almost 25 places are now at Level 2.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.
If you’re concerned about a health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Level 1

The Plaza Murillo and Bolivian Palace of Government in La Paz. Bolivia became a Level 1 destination on Monday.

The Plaza Murillo and Bolivian Palace of Government in La Paz. Bolivia became a Level 1 destination on Monday.

diegograndi/Adobe Stock

To be in “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days. Two landlocked destinations were added to the category on May 9:

• Bolivia
• Kosovo

South America’s Bolivia had been at Level 2, while Kosovo, part of Europe’s Balkans, dropped all the way from Level 3, making it the biggest mover of the week.

This level is dominated by destinations in Africa, including Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. Level 1 had more than 50 entries total this week.

Unknown

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with ongoing warfare or unrest. Only one addition was made on Monday to this category: Angola.

The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Also attracting their fair share of visitors in this category are the Azores, Cambodia and Tanzania.

A medical expert weighs in on risk levels

Transmission rates are just “one guidepost” for travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

We’ve moved into “a phase in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

There are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates, according to Wen.

“Another is what precautions are required and followed in the place that you’re going and then the third is what are you planning to do once you’re there.

“Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? That’s very different from you’re going somewhere where you’re planning to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. That’s very different. Those are very different levels of risk.”

Vaccination is the most significant safety factor for travel, since unvaccinated travelers are more likely to become ill and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

And it’s also important to consider what you would do if you end up testing positive away from home. Where will you stay and how easy will it be to get a test to return home?

Top image: BVI, now at Level 3, has plenty of beach escapes. (Matt/Adobe Stock).



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CDC adds a Caribbean getaway to its ‘high’ risk travel category


By Forrest Brown and Marnie Hunter, CNN

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added one destination — a relaxed Caribbean playground — to its “high” category for Covid-19 risk.

The British Virgin Islands moved up to Level 3 on Monday; it previously had been at Level 2.

The islands are known for the famous Virgin Gorda Baths (a bay dotted with giant granite boulders); water sports such as diving and sailing; and a pace that is more casual than some of the Caribbean’s hot spots.

Overall, this week’s CDC travel risk update saw little in the way of the dramatic shifts in status that characterized this past winter and early spring during the original Omicron variant surge.

The CDC recently overhauled its ratings system for assessing Covid-19 risk for travelers.

The Level 3 “high” risk category is now the top rung in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk, and Level 1 is “low” risk.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern or health care infrastructure collapse. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Level 4 so far.

Level 3

In the CDC’s new system, the “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category applies to countries that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Much of Europe is still lodged there with the summer travel season getting ever closer. As of May 9, some popular European destinations remained at Level 3:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Portugal
• Spain
• United Kingdom

It’s not just European favorites that find themselves at Level 3. Other popular travel spots around the world still ranked at the high risk level:

• Brazil
• Canada
• Costa Rica
• Malaysia
• South Korea
• Thailand

There are almost 110 destinations at Level 3 this week. Level 3 locations now account for nearly half of the roughly 235 places monitored by the CDC.

The CDC advises that you get up-to-date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Level 3 destination. “Up-to-date” includes not only the full initial vaccinations but any boosters for which you’re eligible.

The CDC does not include the United States in its list of advisories, but on its color-coded map of the world, the CDC had it at Level 3 on Monday.

Level 2

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Seven destinations — spread all around the planet — were moved to this level on Monday:

• The Bahamas
• Fiji
• Jordan
• Mongolia
• Namibia
• Paraguay
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The move to Level 2 was a step back for the Bahamas, Namibia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which had been at Level 1.

But the move was good news for tourism-dependent Fiji, along with Jordan and Mongolia, which had been at Level 3. Paraguay was previously “unknown.” Almost 25 places are now at Level 2.

You can view the CDC’s risk levels for any global destination on the agency’s travel recommendations page.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

If you’re concerned about a health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Level 1

To be in “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days. Two landlocked destinations were added to the category on May 9:

• Bolivia
• Kosovo

South America’s Bolivia had been at Level 2, while Kosovo, part of Europe’s Balkans, dropped all the way from Level 3, making it the biggest mover of the week.

This level is dominated by destinations in Africa, including Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. Level 1 had more than 50 entries total this week.

Unknown

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with ongoing warfare or unrest. Only one addition was made on Monday to this category: Angola.

The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Also attracting their fair share of visitors in this category are the Azores, Cambodia and Tanzania.

A medical expert weighs in on risk levels

Transmission rates are just “one guidepost” for travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

We’ve moved into “a phase in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

There are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates, according to Wen.

“Another is what precautions are required and followed in the place that you’re going and then the third is what are you planning to do once you’re there.

“Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? That’s very different from you’re going somewhere where you’re planning to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. That’s very different. Those are very different levels of risk.”

Vaccination is the most significant safety factor for travel, since unvaccinated travelers are more likely to become ill and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

And it’s also important to consider what you would do if you end up testing positive away from home. Where will you stay and how easy will it be to get a test to return home?

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Top image: BVI, now at Level 3, has plenty of beach escapes. (Matt/Adobe Stock).



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National gas prices at all time high, travelers make changes around MA


More than half of Americans are planning to make travel changes because of rising gas prices, according to a recent AAA survey. But when it comes to summer vacations, many people are not letting those prices get in the way.

“When gas prices get this high, we definitely see behavior changes in people,” said Mary Maguire, AAA director of Legislative and Public Affairs in Massachusetts.

She added regular gas is at an all-time high average cost of $4.39 per gallon, while diesel is also at an all-time high at $6.27 per gallon.

“People will be driving less, working more from home and consolidating trips, among other things,” Maguire said. “They are finding they have no choice but to make adjustments.”

National average at all time high

“Americans felt gas prices were too expensive just a few weeks ago at $3.53 per gallon,” according to a statement from AAA. “Now with the national average at an all-time high of over $4, Americans may have reached a tipping point. Over half (59%) said they would make changes to their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 per gallon. If gas were to reach $5, which it has in the Western part of the country, three-quarters said they would need to adjust their lifestyle to offset the spike at the pump.

“While many Americans may adapt their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it likely won’t have as much of an impact on summer travel. AAA’s survey found that 52% of Americans have plans to take a vacation this summer. Of those, 42% said they would not consider changing their travel plans regardless of the price of gas.”

As for how high (gas prices will get this summer), “it’s basically impossible to get a good gauge on where we’ll be this summer because of the wide range of possibilities,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel savings app GasBuddy. 

Pump prices rose again over the past week due primarily to the high cost of crude oil, according to AAA. The cost of a barrel of crude continues to hover around $100. With the oil price accounting for about 60% of pump prices, the national average for a gallon of regular is now $4.39, an increase of 27 cents since April 25.

“As long as the supply remains tight, it will be hard for crude oil prices to fall and consumers will in turn face higher prices at the pump,” said Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson. “It now costs drivers in the U.S. about $23 more to fill up than a year ago.”

All prices rising

Overall, U.S. consumers are paying 8.5% more for goods and services compared with last year. The 18.3% increase in prices for gasoline Americans experienced in March accounted for most of the increase in last month’s overall Consumer Price Index, which rose by 1.2% from February. 

There are some Democrat-led proposals in the works to remedy the problem, including the “Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax,”  levying a per-barrel tax on major oil companies “equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019,” according to a brief of the bill.  

Already four states – Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and New York – enacted gas tax holidays to provide temporary relief. (Maryland’s holiday’s expired April 18 and New York’s doesn’t go into effect until June 1. At least a dozen states have considered implementing one. California, New Jersey and Delaware also are considering sending rebates.

Many Republican lawmakers are resurrecting calls to expand the Keystone XL pipeline, which they claim would lower gas prices and help the U.S. become even more energy independent.

President Biden prevented the expansion in one of his earliest executive orders citing environmental concerns. Keystone XL, which would ship crude oil from Alberta to existing pipelines and then on to the Gulf Coast refineries, would take years to construct and would not be assured to increase U.S. supplies. 

USA Today personal finance and markets correspondent Elisabeth Buchwald contributed to this article.



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Are premium travel cards with high annual fees worth the money?


When the pandemic hit, expensive credit cards tailored to frequent travelers had to pivot quickly to non-travel perks or risk losing customers who were paying hundreds of dollars in annual fees to earn benefits and rewards geared toward going places.

JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and other premium credit card issuers loaded up on partnerships with companies focused on life indoors. “When the pandemic first hit, it felt like every travel card was piling into everyday benefits — groceries and also things like streaming services, food delivery,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com. 

Now, with travel and entertainment booming, high-fee cards, including Chase’s Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee), Capital One’s Venture X ($395 annually) and American Express’ Platinum card ($695 a year) have returned to offering their most lucrative rewards to those who don’t stay home. 

It’s hard to know how much of the $164 billion credit card industry belongs to premium travel cards. Issuers don’t break out their data. But overall, “we’re seeing pretty sharp increases in both spending on the cards in the travel sector, as well as redemptions for travel,” said John Owens, the general manager of Elan Credit Card, a division of U.S. Bancorp that runs credit card programs for 1,300 community banks and credit unions. 

For certain frequent travelers, high-fee cards can easily pay for themselves and be worth much more than their triple-digit fees over the course of a year. The challenge for the uninitiated is to get beyond the glossy marketing, the perk sprawl and the sheer allure of spending, to weigh the benefits against the costs.  

“Reward centers in the brain that are sensitive to pleasure are specifically activated by the possibility of purchasing something with a credit card,” said Drazen Prelec, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. “If you use the card for happy experiences, that card acquires some of the associations with the purchases you’ve made. … That gives it kind of a psychological glow.”

That glow is one reason travel cards, with their promise of easy luxury, exotic locales and rich incentives, can feel a lot more enticing than getting cash back on a trip to a big box store with a no-fee card. 

The most visible and common incentives are rewards points, which are ladled on by the thousands and can be worth hundreds of dollars. American Express, for instance, is offering a signing bonus of 100,000 points for the Platinum card. The Sapphire Reserve card comes with 50,000 points. The Venture X comes with 75,000 reward miles. Certain airlines have

Rewards points are “what I like to call a buffer currency,” Prelec said. “It doesn’t feel like you’re spending money.”

Even if it did, it could be hard to determine how much. 

Points have traditionally been valued at a penny apiece, but now their worth can depend on a host of factors, and because plans have become so complicated, using points to pay for airline tickets and hotel rooms, for instance, can be like chasing moving targets. 

Credit card companies prefer to keep cardholders in their ecosystems, and typically reserve the maximum rewards points, as well as the highest possible “exchange rate,” for travelers who book through their proprietary portals. Take Venture X’s 75,000-point signing bonus, for instance, is worth $750 when used toward flights, hotels and other services booked through Capital One’s travel portal. If the cardholder wants to trade the points for a statement credit or check and spend the reward outside the portal, they’re worth $375. 

Another powerful selling point for travel cards is an annual credit for travel purchases. The Sapphire card credits users a total of $300 at the end of the year for anything that qualifies as a travel expense. Venture X also offers a $300 annual travel credit, but the travel has to be booked through Capital One’s portal, “which is a little bit of a stumbling block for some people,” said Rossman of CreditCards.com. 

This is why partnerships can sometimes be as important as points, when it comes to calculating the value of a card. Some travel cards partner only with certain hotel chains or airlines, which can affect the value of the cards themselves, as well as the cardholders’ ability to take advantage of other perks connected to particular airlines, like free baggage fees, upgrades and access to airport lounges. 

Travelers who prefer to book directly with hotels or airlines or prefer to use third-party channels like Travelocity also might not derive as much benefit from the cards as people willing to use the issuers’ travel portals, where similar discounts may not be available. 

To attract younger users, and retain existing ones, card companies have also added restaurant programs, with benefits including first dibs on reservations at certain trendy restaurants in big cities or pop-up events featuring famous chefs. “I think these cards are catering to a more affluent young professional type, the kind of people who tend to eat out a lot,” Rossman said. 

But dining perks are mainly a way to score bonus points, or to use them, and they may not directly defray the cost of the card. Also, they’re frequently available in some form with cards that have lower annual fees, or none at all. 

And for premium travel cards, the fees aren’t the only higher costs. According to CreditCards.com, the current annual percentage rate for a rewards credit card is 16.17 percent, compared to 13.28 percent, on average, for low-interest cards.  

“If people pay more for something, they are more likely to use it,” said Ali Besharat, an associate professor of marketing and co-director of the Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center at the University of Denver. They see it as a “justified expense,” he said.




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Flying with High Blood Pressure: Risks, Tips, and More


For many people, a fear of flying means worrying about an unlikely tragic event. But for people with chronic health conditions, like heart disease or high blood pressure, other concerns come to mind.

When people fly, their bodies are at a much higher altitude than they’re used to. While high altitudes can cause symptoms, like headaches and nausea, these usually occur in people who live in or visit high altitude locations. On an airplane, the pressurization in the cabin prevents most of these symptoms.

People with high blood pressure can certainly travel by plane, especially if they have their condition under control.

You still need to take some precautions, though, if you have high blood pressure and you’re considering flying. This article explores the risks and what you need to do to prevent health problems during your flight.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as a reading above 130/80 mm Hg for most people. Roughly half of all Americans have some degree of hypertension.

The condition increases your risk of both heart attack and stroke, and it contributed to some degree to more than half a million deaths in 2019 alone.

The risks associated with high blood pressure exist at any elevation. But studies have shown that people who live in high altitude areas have an even greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Other health risks at high altitudes include:

Many of these complications develop in people who live in or spend long periods at altitudes of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) or higher above sea level. Airplanes typically fly higher than 9,000 meters (30,000 feet) above sea level. But you usually avoid the physical effects of being at this elevation because of the way airplane cabins are pressurized.

Generally speaking, people who regulate their high blood pressure with medication are not likely to have an increased risk of health problems at higher altitudes. But this risk increases with poorly controlled or severe high blood pressure.

There is little data on monitoring changes in your heart health with just occasional flying. But a 2021 study found that even healthy men without any heart disease had a 6 percent increase in blood pressure during commercial flights.

Anxiety and other issues that might arise during a flight can also contribute to symptoms and increase your blood pressure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical emergencies occur in about 1 in 600 flights.

The most common medical emergencies on flights are:

Some of these emergencies can arise from high blood pressure. The chances of developing blood clots are also elevated during flight and in people with high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about managing your blood pressure with medications and lifestyle changes. If you take regular medications to manage your blood pressure, pack them to have them with you on the flight.

The dry conditions in the cabin may also lead to dehydration, which can sometimes cause your blood pressure to rise. Be sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated before, during, and after your flight.

Here are some other tips for people with high blood pressure who plan to fly:

  • Discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption during your flight to avoid dehydration.
  • Be aware that airline food may contain a lot of sodium that can increase your blood pressure.
  • Avoid sedative and hypnotic medications during your flight.
  • Don’t use decongestants that can increase blood pressure.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Get up and walk around every 2 hours or so during your flight.
  • Keep moving between walks with simple exercises in your seat to promote circulation.
  • Alert the flight crew about any concerns or medical symptoms you begin to experience.

Can I bring a blood pressure monitor on a plane?

Yes. You’re permitted to bring medical devices, including blood pressure monitors, in your carry-on bag. But there may be some limitations to devices with lithium batteries or other prohibited materials.

Is blood pressure medication allowed in my carry-on?

Yes. You’re allowed to bring prescription medications with you on your flight. It’s best to have an adequate supply of your blood pressure medication with you. Keep your medications in their original container with your prescription information visible.

Can I take motion sickness medications, like Dramamine, if I have high blood pressure? Will it interfere with my blood pressure medication?

Dramamine and other forms of dimenhydrinate are not known to interfere with blood pressure medications and should be safe to use with or without blood pressure medication.

It’s always good to check with your doctor about possible interactions between your prescription medications and over-the-counter medications.

For most people, flying is a safe way to travel, and it won’t interfere with most health conditions. Spending a lot of time on planes or flying with unmanaged blood pressure may be riskier.

Limit your chances of developing blood pressure complications from flying by getting your blood pressure managed before your trip. Be sure to pack enough of your medications for your entire flight.



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UPDATE: I-80 reopens to most traffic; high winds, winter weather impacting all interstate travel


I-80 in Arlington 4/23/22 (WYDOT)

UPDATE: Closures due to winter conditions on I-80 have lifted as of 1:48 p.m., WYDOT said. Closures to light, high-profile vehicles due to high winds remain in effect between Elk Mountain and Laramie.

For the latest road and travel conditions, visit the Closures and Advisories page on the Wyoming Department of Transportation website. 

CASPER, Wyo. — Winter conditions and high winds are prompting more closures Saturday on Wyoming roadways, including all major interstates.

Winter conditions closed Interstate 80 in both directions between Cheyenne and Laramie shortly after noon, the Wyoming Department of Transportation said. I-80 is closed eastbound from Rock Springs to Cheyenne due to a rolling closure. Expanded closures are likely.

Gusts of 60 mph have also closed I-80 closed to light, high-profile vehicles from Elk Mountain to Laramie. High wind advisories along the I-80 corridor are in effect until 6:00 p.m. Snowfall and blowing snow are advised along the corridor from central Carbon County to Rock Springs through 9:00 p.m. Saturday.

(NWS Cheyenne)

I-25 is closed from Wheatland to Casper due to winter conditions. As of 10:30 a.m., the estimated reopening time is unknown. I-25 is also closed to light, high-profile vehicles between Chugwater and Cheyenne due to high winds, with gusts up to 65 mph expected through midnight, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Cheyenne.

Interstate 90 is closed from the Montana state line to Sundance, with no unnecessary travel advised between Ranchester and Sheridan. As of 10:42 a.m., the reopening time is unknown.

Roadways in Johnson and Natrona counties will be particularly impacted, the NWS said. Winds gusting up to 50–60 mph and heavy snow may reduce visibility to near zero at times in these areas, particularly around Buffalo, through the afternoon.



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