AAA projects the number of Americans traveling during the Memorial Day holiday will drop compared to the previous year. AAA estimates that 37.87 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a decrease of nearly 360,000 travelers (0.9 percent) from last year’s total of 38.23 million. This is the first decrease since 2002.
Nearly 31.7 million Americans, or 83 percent of all holiday travelers, are expected to travel by automobile, a one percent decrease from the approximately 32 million people who drove a year ago.
Almost 4.35 million, 11 percent of holiday travelers, plan to fly this holiday weekend; a decrease of 0.5 percent from the 4.37 million who took to the skies last year. About 1.8 million intend to travel by train, bus or other mode of transportation.
Across much of the country, motorists driving to their Memorial Day holiday destinations will once again encounter record-high gasoline prices. The national average for self-serve regular is $3.78 a gallon. That is 39 cents more than one month ago and 68 cents more than this time last year.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, air fares over the Memorial Day holiday weekend are expected to rise eight percent over last year as air passengers will pay an average $179. Car rental rates will climb significantly higher with consumers paying an average of $45 per day compared to $31 a year ago, an increase of 45 percent. Hotel rates for AAA 3 Diamond hotels are expected to be seven percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $162 per night. However, travelers planning to stay at AAA 2 Diamond hotels will pay an average of $112 per night, nine percent more than a year ago.