Strong economy and low gas prices drive 4.7 percent increase in holiday travel over 2014
AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day 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, 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 21, to Monday, May 25.
Highlights from 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast
•The 2015 Memorial Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, since 2005.
•Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years, and about $1 lower than the average price for Memorial Day last year.
•More than 88 percent of travelers (33 million) will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
•Holiday air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers.
•Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day, to 1.64 million.
•Travelers will encounter higher average daily car rental and lodging costs this year, while airfares are down slightly compared to Memorial Day 2014.
"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 Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. "AAA is expecting more Memorial Day travelers this year than any time in the past 10 years as higher consumer confidence and lower gas prices boost Americans' disposable income and desire to travel."
Impact of Gasoline Prices
Travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years.
Hotel and Car Rental Rates Increase, Airfares Fall Slightly
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, the average daily car rental rate this Memorial Day is $19 higher than last year. The average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is 16 percent higher this year at $144, while Three Diamond hotels will cost 7 percent more, averaging $182. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are 2 percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.
Tips for Drivers
More than 88 percent (33 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 5.3 percent increase from 2014. AAA expects to rescue nearly 350,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check battery and tire condition before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA mobile app (AAA.com/mobile), visit www.AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown.
'Slow Down, Move Over'
Drivers should also remember to "Slow Down, Move Over" when there's an emergency response vehicle - including tow trucks - on the shoulder or any roadway portion with its lights flashing. New York state law requires drivers traveling in the same direction to exercise due care, including moving over a lane and reducing speed. Violators face a fine of $150, a state surcharge of $88-$93, and two violation points on a license.
Travel Planning Resources
AAA's digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Memorial Day travel forecast can be found here.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.