Many First Coast Residents Decide Home is Best for Holiday Weekend | News

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Many First Coast Residents Decide Home is Best for Holiday Weekend

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- This holiday weekend comes on the heels of some troubling economic news.  During the month of August, there were zero jobs added.

It's just another sign the economy is not rebounding as hoped.  it has people watching their dollars and staying close to home for the holiday weekend.
"It's been pretty tough," said Kay Richardson.

It's the reason Kay Richardson and her family decided to have their big family reunion at home in Jacksonville Beach instead of traveling miles away.

"I think it has a lot to do with the economy.  This was even a stretch this year but we all pulled together and made it happen," said Richardson.

The Richardson family isn't alone.  According to Triple A, the number of Americans traveling more than 50 miles over this holiday weekend will fall 2.4 percent to 31.5 million.
The main reason? Gas prices.  They're a dollar more than last Labor Day.  On top of that, some consumers just aren't very confident in the economy right now.

"We had a big debate about that.  I think it's pretty bad.  My husband has a business here and it's suffered immensely over the past couple of years.  It's really gone down and it's tough," said Richardson.

There is some good news for some businesses.  With more people staying close to home, it's giving a boost to some local hotels and motels at the beach.
"It's been a busy weekend, fun weekend.  We sold out last night," said Bill Benko, Comfort Inn.

The Comfort Inn at Jacksonville Beach is seeing customers from right here in the Florida area and close by in Georgia, booking rooms to get that vacation feel without going far.    

"On weekends, especially on the beach, if it's sunny out they'll be here," said Benko.

It helps them to save some hard earned money while still having fun.  Although no one wants to think about bills at the beach, Richardson does wish it all would get better.

"Hoping it turns around," she said.

If it does turn around, maybe the next family reunion will be wherever they choose. 

Although overall travel is down, it seems more people are ditching the airplane for their vehicles instead.  According to Triple A, 87% of holiday travelers will hit the roadways.
8% will fly.  That's down nearly 2% from 2010.


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