It's going to be a busy Memorial Day weekend!AAA Travel projects that 37.2 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home during the long holiday weekend, a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.
Kicking off the summer driving season, AAA says that 33 million travelers will be driving to their Memorial Day destinations, a 5.3 percent increase from last year. Holiday air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 2.6 million travelers.
Memorial Day weekend travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease slightly this year (by 3.6 percent) to 1.64 million travelers.
"Following a harsh winter, many Americans are trading in their snow boots for flip flops and making plans to start the season with a vacation getaway," said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President. "AAA is expecting more Memorial Day travelers this year than any time in the past 10 years as confident consumers come out of hibernation ready to explore national parks, beach destinations and America's great cities."
Doney says that a number of economic factors are contributing to the large increase in holiday travelers this year. "A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans' disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry," continued Doney.
Memorial Day travelers will also be paying less at the gas pump this year. AAA says that most drivers will likely pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. Today's national average price of gas is $2.72, which is nearly $1.00 less than the average price on Memorial Day last year.
The Memorial Day holiday travel period this year is defined as Thursday, May 21 through Monday, May 25.