Whether by plane or train (but not automobile), you’re probably going to have to dig deeper in your wallet for travel in 2014.
Delta will be increasing the number of miles needed to score award flights. With two waves of increases slated for Feb. 1 and June 1, it’ll take more miles to get to Hawaii and further afield and to ride in business or first class. Also, as part of a budget deal, Congress may double the TSA passenger security fees that are currently merged into the cost of an airline ticket to $5 per flight. The maximum fee would be $20 per itinerary, with $5 charged for each connecting flight.
Sometime in early 2014, Amtrak trains will roll into St. Paul’s Union Depot. With spacious waiting areas, modern artwork and historic grandeur, the renovated depot offers a nice upgrade from Midway Station — with one major exception. If you park-and-ride, you’ll be paying for the privilege. Parking is free at Midway. At Union Depot, two covered ramps are reserved for short-term parking, with rates beginning at $2 for a half-hour. Long-term parking is currently available only on a surface lot about a block away, with a daily flat rate of $5. Amtrak will notify ticket-holders before the move occurs and will shuttle any passengers who will park a car and depart from Midway but return to Union Depot.
Now for the good news: Analysts at both GasBuddy.com and AAA expect gas prices to dip slightly in 2014, a situation that could impact not only road trips but also the base cost of airline tickets. That’s thanks to increased U.S. refining capacity and crude oil production. “However, it’s possible that unexpected events or greater than forecast economic growth could result in higher prices for motorists in 2014,” the AAA report concluded.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at email@example.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.