AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people will travel compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.
“The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices and millions of people from coast to coast are ready to kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway,” according to Jim Lehman, President of AAA East Central.
Americans paid the cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years during the first three months of 2016. AAA estimates that Americans have saved more than $18 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015. The strong labor market and rising personal income are also motivating people to travel for Memorial Day this year.
Nearly 4.5 million people from the Mid-Atlantic States (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) expect to travel this holiday weekend, up 2.1% from last year.
Car Travel: 4.1 million (up 2% from 2015)
Air Travel: 280,000 (up .7% from 2015)
Other Modes: 133,000 (down 5.5% from 2015)
East North Central region
More than 6.1 million people from the East North Central states (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin) expect to travel this holiday weekend, up 1.6% from 2015.
Car Travel: 5.6 million (up 1.8% from 2015)
Air Travel: 306,000 (up 1.3% from 2015)
Other Modes: 242,000 (down 3.2% from 2015)
East South Central region
Nearly 2.1 million people from the East South Central states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi) expect to travel this holiday weekend, an increase of 1.6% from the previous year.
Car Travel: 1.8 million (up 1.8% from 2015)
Air Travel: 151,000 (up 2.5% from 2015)
Other Modes: 74,000 (down 5.1% from 2015)
South Atlantic region
Nearly 7.2 million people from the South Atlantic states (West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.) expect to travel this holiday weekend, an increase of 2.1% from the year prior.
Car Travel: 6.5 million (up 2.3% from 2015)
Air Travel: 513,000 (up 2.1% from 2015)
Other Modes: 202,000 (down 4.8% from 2015)
Low gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Memorial Day
Nearly 34 million (89 percent) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year as a result of lower gas prices. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent over last year, with 2.6 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will fall 2.3 percent, to 1.6 million travelers.
Lowest Memorial Day gas prices in 12 years expected
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline today is $2.28, 46 cents less than last year. AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices since 2004. According to a recent AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.
Airfares fall significantly this Memorial Day
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this Memorial Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $165. Hotel costs are in line with last Memorial Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $183, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $151 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $62, three percent less than last year.
AAA to rescue more than 350,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists nationally during the Memorial Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
Memorial Day travelers heading to warm weather destinations & cities
Many Memorial Day travelers will head to warm weather destinations and historic American cities to kick off their summer travels. The top destinations this Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA.com and AAA travel agency sales, are:
South Padre Island
Download the AAA Mobile app before a Memorial Day getaway
Before setting out for Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
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 2016 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast can be found here.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 83 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia servicing more than 2.7 million members.