The pandemic is winding down, HOORAY! People are traveling to destinations again. American's are visiting family, going to concerts and sporting events, it's a new world! Unfortunately, it will come at an increased cost in 2021.

Gas costs in Iowa are (way) up over 2020

According to Triple-A, more than 47 million Americans will be getting out of dodge this weekend to enjoy a (hopefully long) fourth weekend. These levels are very close to 2019, and far, far higher than 2020. If you're traveling by car, you'll pay more than you would have last year, or even in 2019. Right now, the average cost of gas in Iowa is actually lower than the national average. We sit at roughly $2.96 per gallon. The national average is about $3.12. Back in 2019 in Iowa at this time, the average was only $2.52.

Here's some good news, however - if you're traveling anywhere in the Midwest except Illinois, the cost of gas is lower than the national average. Again, except Illinois where it's $3.36, which is higher than the national average.

Staying in a hotel? Prepare to pay more

Triple-A also says the cost of your holiday hotel stay will run you more, too. To stay at a mid-range hotel (Triple-A term) will likely cost you between 32% and 35%. You can expect to pay between $156 and $398. According to Triple-A, a mid-range hotel offers few or no-frills. While you're likely leaving Cedar Rapids this 4th, I still checked into the cost of a hotel in the area using Hotel.com. Locally, a no-frills hotel will run you between $124 and $139, which is far less than Triple-As national average. If you can handle a simple motel, you can book for under $100. Not bad at all.

About that car rental...

If you're looking for a car rental this weekend, that may be impossible. Rental car rates have shot up 86% compared 2020. In Cedar Rapids, expect to pay a whopping $246 a day for a mid-size vehicle. I went to Kayak.com, which compares rental costs, and that was the cheapest I could find. This lines up with Triple-A's assessment. A car chip shortage is blamed on the cost increase as there are fewer vehicles available for rental companies to acquire. Luckily, it's not expected for this trend to continue.

Don't let costs deter you too much. If you already made reservations, you're all set! Maybe you have family or friends where you're heading and you have a free place to stay. All in all, it's NOT 2020, and that's what counts!

Travel safe!

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