Record numbers of Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend despite the highest gas prices ever recorded for a holiday, according to AAA.
AAA estimates that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.2% increase from last year.
Approximately 31.1 million travelers, or 84% of all holiday travelers, expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.2% increase from the 30.5 million who drove a year ago.
Another 4.2 million plan to travel by airplane while a projected 1.9 million vacationers will go by train, bus, or other mode of transportation, about even with a year ago.
“Highest-ever holiday gas prices won’t keep Americans from traveling,” said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra Hughes. “Prices might be 15 cents per gallon higher than last year’s then-record levels, but gasoline remains a relatively small part of most travelers’ vacation costs. Look for another crowded holiday on the highways.”
Holiday auto travelers will find gas prices nationwide currently averaging $2.15 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline – down 9 cents during the last month, but about 15 cents higher than the then-record levels a year ago.
Air travelers will generally be paying less to fly this weekend. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index shows flights over the holiday weekend averaging 10% less this year than last year. Rental car rates will be down about 4%, but these savings will be offset by higher hotel rates – up 10% from a year ago.
“Look for crowded airports, as well, as air travel continues to increase from previous years,” said Hughes. “Continued low airfares will result in full planes and busy airports for Memorial Day weekend and beyond.”