This year’s Memorial Day weekend is expected to be a busy one for travel, as AAA is projecting more than 38 million Americans will hit the road, the second-highest volume on record and the most since 2005. Compared to last year, 700,000 more people will travel thanks to lower gas prices.
“Americans are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel in numbers not seen in more than a decade,” said AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney, in a release. “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.”
Just this year alone, AAA estimates that Americans saved $15 billion on gas compared to the same period in 2015 thanks to prices being at their lowest in 11 years. Additionally, AAA also suggests that a strong labor market and rising personal income are allowing people to travel on Memorial Day this year. Due to low gas prices, nearly 34 million holiday travelers (about 89 percent) will drive to their Memorial Day destinations this year, which is up 2.1 percent compared to 2015. Air travel is projected to grow by 1.6 percent over last year to 2.6 million, while travel by other modes such as cruises, trains, and buses will drop 2.3 percent to 1.6 million.
AAA’s Leisure Travel Index also indicates that average airfares for the top 40 domestic routes will be 26 percent cheaper for Memorial Day this year, with roundtrip tickets averaging $165. Average hotel costs, however, will stay in line with last year at $183 for AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels and $151 for Two Diamond Rated hotels. Car rentals, on the other hand, are expected to be slightly lower at an average rate of $62, down 3 percent less compared to last year. AAA also expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists with dead batteries, keys locked in cars, and flat tires this holiday weekend.
This year’s top destinations will be places with warmer climates and historic American cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Miami, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Orlando, New York, and South Padre Island, Texas.