AAA for Memorial Day: More Travel, Cheaper Gas

By: Ralph Hipp, 13 News at 4
By: Ralph Hipp, 13 News at 4

AAA is estimating 32.1 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend, which is an increase of 5.4 percent from 2009. Last year, 30.5 million Americans traveled during the same period. Over 2.86 million Americans from the West North Central region will join the consumers traveling this Memorial Day weekend, an 8.3 percent increase from 2009.

“Many consumers are enthusiastic to kick-off summer travel season this year as reflected with the increase in domestic travel in late 2009,” said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for public and government affairs at AAA. “Travelers are being cost conscious by researching the best deals and utilizing discounts as they eagerly plan trips to visit family, friends and vacation destinations away from home.”

The recent drop in gas prices will encourage 28 million Americans nationwide to hit the road to reach their holiday destination, accounting for 87 percent of travelers. The state’s average gasoline price remains steady at $2.73 per gallon, down 8 cents from last week.

Air travel will increase by 2.4 percent. Approximately 2.15 million Americans will fly to holiday destinations this year. Travel by air only accounts for 7 percent of nationwide travelers. An estimated 1.97 million travelers nationwide will take advantage of other modes of transportation, including rail, buses and watercraft, which accounts for 6 percent of total transportation.

Additional information regarding Memorial Day travel trends and behavior includes:
* Spending is expected to average $809 per trip;
* Average distance traveled by Americans will be approximately 626 miles;
* Memorial Day holiday weekend airfare is expected to remain the same as the previous year at the lowest average round-trip fare of $176 per ticket;
* Car rental rates will drop to $36 per day compared to $43 a day last Memorial Day weekend;
* Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond properties are expected to drop one percent with travelers averaging $141 per night.

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 as part of an agreement to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more from home in one direction during the period from Thursday, May 27 to Monday, May 31. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2010 Memorial Day holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

AAA provides travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to 51 million members nationwide. As the largest leisure travel agency in North America with 1,100 full-service offices, AAA provides members and non-members with a range of travel services and products from publishing and distributing maps and guidebooks to booking and planning leisure vacations. For more information about AAA, members and non-members can visit AAA offices in Topeka, Wichita, Manhattan or Lawrence, go online to AAA.com or call 800-365-5222.


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