More than 36.1 million Americans will take to the road during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, kicking off a summer season where more than 8-in-10 travelers will drive to their destinations.
“A long and unusually harsh winter gave many Americans the travel bug,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman with AAA, in a release. “Combine rising temperatures with signs of an improving economy, and travel for the holiday should hit a new post-recession high.”
The amount of people traveling at least 50 miles from home is up 1.5 percent from 35.5 million people who traveled last year, AAA said. However, more than half — some 57 percent — are still working to finalize their travel plans with things such as hotel reservations, car rentals, and such.
“Hotel and car rental reservations are filling up fast for Memorial Day,” said AAA Travel spokeswoman Jessica Brady, in a release. “Now is the time to make your Memorial Day travel arrangements to ensure you get what you want for the price that fits your budget.”
Travelers who plan to fly instead — about 2.6 million across the country — will find higher prices at the ticket counters. Airfares are up 6 percent, with mid-range hotels climbing 2 percent from last year, and car rentals up 1 percent, AAA said.
The winter was a hindrance to economic growth at the beginning of the year, but economic factors influenced by weather — such as car and home sales — appear to be resolving themselves now, AAA said.
Most drivers will pay lower gas prices during the holiday weekend because of rising supplies. The prices themselves should be steady with last year, at an average of $3.63 per gallon.
AAA bases its economic forecasting and research on IHS Global Insight, which has been working with the automobile association since 2009.
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