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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 36 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles away from home during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, a 1.5-percent increase compared to the same five-day period last year, according to AAA's Memorial Day Travel Forecast.
During the May 22-26 period, AAA expects 36.1 million Americans to travel long distances, which would be a post-recession high. Eighty-eight percent of these consumers will travel by automobile, a slight increase vs. last year.
Gaining the most ground will be leisure travelers on cruise ships, trains and buses. Approximately 1.7 million travelers will use these modes of transportation, a 6.5-percent increase compared to 2013, reported AAA.
Those planning to drive to their destinations this holiday weekend will see good news on the gas price front. AAA expects holiday gas prices to be relatively similar or even perhaps slightly less than last year's $3.63 average per regular gallon nationwide. However, AAA did caution that unforeseen circumstances such as refinery problems or international events could result in higher fuel prices this weekend.
“As we enter into the summer travel season with warmer temperatures and tulips in bloom, thoughts of historic cold are still fresh in the minds of Americans in many parts of the country,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA's chief operating officer. “The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”
Consumers will face higher prices in some travel segments vs. one year ago, though. Airfares will be 6 percent higher than last year, while the cost of mid-range hotels will increase by 2 percent and car rentals will increase by 1 percent, AAA predicted.