After two years of being (mostly) cooped up inside our communities, people are feeling more confident to take up travel not just across Colorado but also overseas.
As the start of Spring Break begins for many Front Range families, you may have questions about travel, gas prices, where to go and what to do with the kiddos (or without them).
In this Denver7 360 In-Depth report, we'll tell you about:
- Gas prices and how to save at the pump if you're going road tripping
- Some of the most popular Spring Break destinations inside and outside of the country and what you need to know if you're flying out
- Where to go if you're staying in Colorado so you don't spend a lot of money
First thing’s first though, the big question on everyone’s minds right now is, of course: How expensive is my Spring Break going to be if I’m planning on road-tripping in Colorado? Not gonna lie to you, the average price for regular gas in the Denver metro area is high – $3.94 as of Wednesday, March 16, up from $3.88 a week prior, according to AAA.
Those prices only increase as you drive west and head to the mountains, so you may want to fill up before you head out.
“Gas prices are always going to be the highest among high-demand, low-competition corridors like Vail, like I-70, where a lot of motorists need gas and not a lot of people are providing it,” says Skyler McKinley, the regional director of public affairs for AAA Colorado. “Generally, fill up way before you go and fill up in larger communities because they tend to have much lower prices.”
If you were to drive to Pitkin County before filling up your tank, for example, you’d be paying about $4.82 on average for a gallon of gas. Yikes!
Want to watch a video instead? Denver7's Nicole Brady and Brian Sanders give you some tips to make the best out of Spring Break 2022.
Alright, so you don’t want to drive but want to fly instead. What are some popular destinations this Spring Break?
It should come as no surprise that landlocked Coloradans would want to see some water if they’re traveling out of state. An analysis done in early February by The Washington Post found Orlando, Fla., to be the top Spring Break destination this year for U.S. travelers, followed by Cancún, Mexico; Las Vegas; Miami; and Phoenix.
Travel Pulse, however, says national parks are also leading the Spring Break craze this year. Among the most popular destinations in this category are Joshua Tree and Death Valley in California; Zion National Park; the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.
If you’re looking to leave the state, be prepared to pay higher airfares. Not only is the price of gas affecting airlines, the urge to see something else than the alley you’ve been looking at from outside your window for the past two years is also creating a surge in ticket prices.
Travel website Hopper says domestic airfares this Spring Break have jumped 21% compared to 2021 and if you wait until last minute to buy that ticket, you could be paying up to 45% more. Hotel rates are jumping by 30% to near what prices were before the pandemic.
If you’re still flying after that hit to your wallet, don’t forget to bring you face mask with you. The TSA extended its rule that requires travelers to wear masks on planes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until April 18.
Make sure to get to DIA at least two hours ahead of your flight as the airport expects traffic volumes to resemble those of March and April of 2019. DIA officials estimate more than 190,000 passengers will travel through DIA on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays for the next three weeks or so.
For those with TSA PreCheck perks, you’ll want to go through the North Security checkpoint. Other travelers with standard screenings will have to go through the South Security checkpoint or the A-Bridge.
You can park in the Pikes Peak economy lot and the east and west terminal lots.
Alright, so say you don’t want to travel outside the state. What can you do during Spring Break in Colorado that’s, you know, outdoorsy? Here are some ideas:
If you’re down for a hike but aren’t sure if the kids will be able to tolerate a 16-mile roundtrip adventure, try these 7 great beginner hikes near Denver, 7 hikes with waterfalls that have little to no hiking, and for the more seasoned hikers, check out 7 incredible places within 150 miles of Denver.
If you want more staycation ideas this Spring Break, our partners at Colorado Parent have put together an incredible round-up of family-friendly getaways.
OK, but what about the ski resorts?! It may be called Spring Break, but you all by know that #COwx doesn’t quite care about your feelings, so if you’re going out, might as well be to ski.
Colorado ski towns have already told our partners at The Denver Post they anticipate a return to pre-pandemic level visitation, something which will definitely help the towns – even though they’re understaffed.
Lodging reservations in Breckenridge are 70% above March 2021 numbers and reservations in Aspen are on par with 2019 figures, according to the newspaper.
If you’re going skiing though, don’t forget to pack some patience along with those skis and poles. Due to staffing shortages at ski resorts, there will be crowds and long lines – so please just show some kindness and compassion to staff who are just trying to do their jobs as best as they can. Summit County officials also urge people to consider riding via carpool or visit the ski resorts mid-week to avoid getting stuck on I-70 when the weekend exodus from the mountain begins Sunday afternoon.
Need more fun road trip ideas? Check out our Discover Colorado section by clicking here or the widget below.
Denver7 | Discover Colorado and all the things our great state has to offer for the whole family
If you don’t want to deal with any of that madness, there’s a ton of stuff you can do with the little ones to keep them entertained which requires little to no driving. John Wenzel over at The Denver Post wrote a helpful guide for family-friendly Denver activities you can afford. Among these are the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, a Nature Art Camp from March 21-24, a superhero Spring Break camp at History Colorado from March 30-April 3, and much more.