AAA: Memorial Day Travel Forecast
AURORA, ILL., May 19, 2016 – 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.
In Illinois, 1.9 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 1.1 percent increase from 2015. Of those travelers, 1.7 million will be driving (up 1.3 percent from 2015) and 95,000 will be flying to their destination (a .8 percent increase from 2015). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.36, down substantially from $2.78 in 2015.
In Indiana, 820,000 people are expected to travel, which is a two increase from 2015. Of those, 750,000 are expected to travel by auto (2.2 percent increase) and about 41,000 by air (1.7 percent increase). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $2.28 per gallon, down from $2.69 this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $2.24.
“Millions of Americans are eager to kick-off the unofficial start of the summer travel season by taking a Memorial Day getaway,” said Joe Richardson, President and CEO, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We are forecasting an increase in holiday travelers for the second consecutive year, and the most in 11 years, largely due to low gas prices, a growing labor market and rising personal incomes. If these factors continue, the travel industry should enjoy a booming summer season.”
AAA estimates that Americans have saved $18 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and prices are at the lowest levels in 11 years. The strong labor market and rising personal income are also motivating people to travel for Memorial Day this year.
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.
Airfares, hotel and car rental rates
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.
Tips for Long Security Lines
- Airports across the country are experiencing long security lines. AAA recommends travelers typically arrive to the airport at least 2-3 hours prior to flight departure for domestic flights and 3-4 hours for international flights.
- Travelers should consider working with a travel agent. If airport security processes causes travelers to miss their flight, their travel agent can assist with rebooking, saving you time and inconvenience.
- To expedite travel, AAA recommends travelers enroll in programs such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.
AAA to rescue more than 350,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists 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:
- Myrtle Beach
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- South Padre Island
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.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.