AAA Chicago: Slight Decrease in Memorial Day Travel

AURORA, ILL., May 22, 2013­– AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from the 35.1 million people who traveled last year.  The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.
In Illinois, 1.8 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a .9 percent decrease from 2012. Of those travelers, just over 1.6 million will be driving (flat as compared with 2012) and just over 88,000 will be flying to their destination (a 7.3 percent decrease from 2012). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $4.06, up from $3.87 in 2012.
In Indiana, just over 753,000 people are expected to travel, which is a 1 percent decrease from 2012. Of those, 689,000 are expected to travel by auto (.1 percent decrease) and about 36,000 by air (7.4 percent decrease). In Indiana, gas prices are on average $3.86 per gallon, up from $3.74 this time last year. The average price nationally for gas is $3.65.
“AAA is forecasting Memorial Day travel to experience a slight dip as economic improvements from last year are not strong enough to spur an increase in travelers,” said AAA Regional President Brad Roeber. “Economic growth in the first quarter was strong, but the impact of the sequester is now beginning to be felt, which has reduced economic growth expectations.”
Highlights from 2013 Memorial Day Travel Forecast include:
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
A survey of intended travelers found that gasoline prices would have no impact on plans for 62 percent of travelers. Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas.  Eight percent are planning to take a shorter trip and three percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation. 
Median spending is expected to decrease as travelers prioritize family and friends
Median spending during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be $659, six percent less than the $702 median spending last year. Transportation is expected to consume approximately 28 cents of every dollar. Travelers expect to spend 22 percent on food and beverage and 20 percent on lodging.
During the holiday weekend, more than half of intending travelers will plan to partake in visiting with friends/family (59 percent) and dining (55 percent). Other popular activities include shopping (44 percent), going to the beach (32 percent) and touring and sightseeing (27 percent).
Car rental rates highest in four years, hotel rates rise modestly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase over four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $166 per night compared to $160 last year. Airfares are also up nearly 10 percent over 2012 prices with an average price of $215. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels remained unchanged with an average cost of $120 per night. Weekend daily car rental rates will average $43, 19 percent more than last year and the highest rate recorded for the holiday since 2009.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight 2012 Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at