With her 11-year-old cat, Prince, resting on the center console of her Honda CR-V, Michele Peters recently drove 13 hours south from her home in Chesapeake, Va., to Osprey, Fla., for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

It had been five years since Peters, 67, enjoyed a long vacation, and a sudden jump in gas prices wasn't going to stand in her way. "Why I was coming down here — the peace and tranquility — was worth 10 times that," she said while overlooking Little Sarasota Bay.

Peters, a legal aid attorney, estimated that in recent years she would have paid around $60 on fuel each way of her roughly 950-mile drive, but the cost of her trip almost doubled. She ended up paying around $115 on gas each way.

Gas prices hit historic highs last month. On March 11, the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States was $4.33, the highest price ever recorded by AAA.

But as in years past, the rise in gas prices is not expected to dampen the allure of the open road. With the arrival of spring break and the expectation of summer vacation, many road trippers plan to follow through with their original itineraries — or they will make adjustments by taking shorter routes, choosing destinations closer to home, and spending less on lodging, food and other purchases.

"Historically, gas prices have had very little, if any impact on travel," said Cheryl Schutz, vice president of travel insights at the market research firm MMGY Global. "People may change what they spend money on, but they will still travel."

Road trips are now more popular than they were in 2019, before the pandemic, according to GPS car data collected by the location data company Arrivalist.

The company's "Daily Travel Index" has tracked travel patterns in the United States since April 2020, and recently added trending data from 2019. In mid-March, road-trip activity — measured as when a driver travels a minimum of 50 miles and spends a minimum of two hours at his or her destination — was higher than the index's 28-day rolling average for the first time in two years. And nearly 80% of 1,096 Americans surveyed earlier in March by travel site the Vacationer said they plan on taking a summer road trip.

"On the immediate horizon, travelers have not changed their plans," said Devin Gladden, a AAA spokesman. "They are expecting costs to be higher. They had these trips planned, and they want to follow through with them."

Later this month, James Willamor, 42, expects to keep his spring break trip with his two children from their home in North Carolina to New Mexico in his Subaru Outback.

"Even with gas prices going up, it would be hard to fly somewhere and get hotels for two weeks for nearly the same price," said Willamor, who works in information technology support.

In recent weeks, Willamor has cut down on local driving and is working from home a few days a week. He checks pump prices on the GasBuddy app and uses rewards programs to save a few cents on each gallon. He also has a credit card with 2% cash back on gas purchases, and his family plans to pack lunches and cook dinners at campsites.

"Combine all that and we will save a little bit," he said, estimating that he will spend around $800 on fuel during his trip.

No end in sight

It's expected that gas prices will continue to be high this summer. Gas stations will soon switch to summer-grade fuel, a more expensive, environmentally friendly blend that's better for ozone levels during hot months. It will add 7 to 10 cents per gallon, according to Gladden of AAA.

A greater hurdle for some potential road-trippers is the continuing shortage of rental cars.

Low fleet inventories, coupled with supply-chain issues for new cars and car parts, continue to plague companies as they struggle with continuing high demand. Rising costs are a result. In February, the average rental car rate was $75 per day on the travel booking website Kayak, a 50% increase compared with the $50 average in February 2019.

Travel agents who once booked rental cars for clients are considering alternatives.

"There are different ways to work around the situation," said Mary Cropper, an agent at Audley Travel in Boston who plans custom road trips in the Southwest. To avoid rental cars in Las Vegas and Tucson, both popular with tourists, she'll arrange for her clients to use free hotel shuttles from the airport and organize tour groups that pick up and drop off clients at their lodging. She'll book rental cars only for destinations farther afield, like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley in Utah.

"It's really just about making sure it's as efficient as possible," Cropper said. "I can tell people are really itching to get out of town and they are open to ideas."