Cost of Las Vegas jaunt jumps 11 percent in year - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

A Vegas vacation isn't as cheap as it used to be.

Not only are gasoline prices at record highs, the price of lodging and dining in Nevada has increased 11 percent over the past year, compared with 5 percent nationally, AAA Nevada reported.

A family of two adults and two children can expect to pay an average of $286 a day in Nevada for food and lodging. Room rates will average $147 a night, up 18 percent from last year. Meals will cost $139, up 4.5 percent.

Rising demand has pushed hotel rates higher in many vacation destinations, AAA Nevada spokesman Sean Comey said. Increased dining costs can be attributed to higher prices for meat, dairy and produce primarily because of the effect of higher gasoline prices for transportation.

"We don't expect rising prices to have a significant impact on the tourism industry," Comey said. "Going on a vacation may cost you more than last year, but most people feel they deserve a break and consider it a good investment in maintaining their mental health."

The least-expensive vacations in the United States are in locations people might not consider a vacation destination. Nebraska had the least expensive average daily cost for food and lodging for a family of four at $184, followed by North Dakota ($185), Kansas ($186), Oklahoma ($188) and Iowa ($189).

Nevada is still a relative bargain compared with higher-demand destinations such as Hawaii ($518), Washington, D.C. ($441), Rhode Island ($307) and New York ($307).

AAA has been tracking vacation costs since 1950, when the average cost of meals and lodging was $13 a day.

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