39.3 Million Americans Expected to Travel This Memorial Day Weekend
AURORA, Ill. (May 17, 2017) – AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is one million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
In Illinois, 1.95 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 1.9 percent increase from 2016. Of those travelers, 1.8 million will be driving (up 1.8 percent from 2016) and 101,000 will be flying to their destination (a 3.1 percent increase from 2016). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.39, down from $2.49 last month and about even with average prices a year ago.
In Indiana, 850,000 people are expected to travel, which is up 2.5 percent from 2016. Of those travelers, 770,000 are expected to travel by auto (2.4 percent increase) and about 44,000 by air (3.7 percent increase). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $2.25 per gallon, down from $2.35 a month ago and about even with prices this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $2.34.
The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Department, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “So far in 2017, travel bookings with AAA in Illinois/Indiana are up 27 percent compared to the same period last year. Higher confidence and falling gas prices have bolstered consumer spending, leaving many Americans with more money to spend on travel this Memorial Day.”
By the Numbers: Memorial Day Travel Forecast
- 2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.
- 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
- 2.9 million Americans are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
- 1.75 million travelers, an increase 2.9 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
- Drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.
Airfares, hotel and car rental rates on the rise
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 9 percent higher this Memorial Day, with an average round trip ticket landing at $181. Hotel costs have also increased since last Memorial Day, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel costing $215, or 18 percent more than last year. Daily car rental rates will average $66, which is 7 percent more than last year.
More Americans are planning to rent cars for their holiday road trips this year. AAA’s car rental bookings are 19 percent higher than last Memorial Day. According to Hertz, the busiest day for car rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 26, based on last year’s data.
AAA to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 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.
AAA and Waze share perspectives on holiday travel
According to Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are the busiest metro areas this Memorial Day weekend, based on last year’s accident and traffic jam data. For travelers visiting or driving through these cities, be aware of high traffic volumes on Friday – in 2016, Chicago saw an average 55 percent increase in accident alerts on Friday, making Thursday a better day to leave town.
Many Memorial Day vacationers traveling abroad this year
While the vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, many other Americans will take advantage of the long holiday weekend and travel internationally, with Europe especially popular this year. The top destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA travel bookings, are:
- Orlando, Florida
- Rome, Italy
- London, England
- Dublin, Ireland
- Vancouver, Canada
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- New York, New York
- Paris, France
- Honolulu, Hawaii
Download the AAA Mobile app before a Memorial Day getaway
Before setting out for Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-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 Markit 2017 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.