On the Road Again! On Memorial Day Weekend, Look for Congested Roads, Crowded Airports

Motorists are pumped this Memorial Day. Average gas prices are on the decline as an estimated 39 million Americans nationwide approach the unofficial start of summer with vacation plans.

One million more Americans this year, compared to last year, will hit the road, fly the sky and sail the sea this holiday, making it the highest start-of-summer travel volume since 2005, says AAA Northeast.  The Memorial Day holiday runs from May 25 – 29.


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Of the overall 39.3 million travelers:

  • 88.1% or 34.6 million travelers will satisfy their wanderlust this year with a road trip. The figure is 2.4% higher than last year’s holiday;
  • 7.4% or 2.9 million, a 5.5% increase, will travel by air, and
  • 4.5% or 1.75 million, a 2.9% increase, will use some other mode of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.

Even though drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015, travelers are throwing abandon to the wind as they head to their destination of choice. The holiday’s higher volume bodes well for the travel industry because it psychologically sets the travel tone for the rest of the year.

This year’s travel spike mirrors positive growth seen throughout the industry this year because people have more confidence in the economy. “When they that happens, they tend to spend their extra dollars on travel,” says Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast public affairs specialist.

As of today, the national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.34, 11 cents higher than this time last year; while in Connecticut, prices average $2.50, 13 cents higher than this time last year.

Despite the increase, average prices nationally and statewide have dropped very slowly in recent weeks.

As people vacation, they also will find that incremental costs will be affecting their pocketbooks. For example:

  • Averageairfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are up 9%, with an average round trip ticket landing at $181.
  • Hotel costs for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel average $215, 18% more than last year; and.
  • Daily car rental rates are about $66, 7% more than last year. This is in line with the fact that car rental bookings are also up 19%.

 AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider that analyzes travel trends during major holidays for AAA. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2017 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 61 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 2  million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

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