39.3 Million Americans Expected to Travel This Memorial Day Weekend
TAMPA, Fla., – One million more travelers will take to the road, sky, rails and water for Memorial Day this year; creating the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2005. AAA projects 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend.
“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 Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “So far in 2017, travel bookings with AAA in Florida are up 17 percent, compared to the same period last year. Higher confidence, rising wages, and recent gas price declines have bolstered consumer spending, leaving many Americans with more money to spend on travel this Memorial Day.”
The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
By the Numbers:
2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.
Travel volumes for all modes of transportation are forecast to be the highest since 2005.
34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.5 percent over last year.
2.9 million Americans will fly, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
1.75 million travelers – an increase 3.2 percent from 2016 – will take other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.
Gas Prices Tumble; Remain Slightly Higher Than Last Year
On Memorial Day 2016, gas prices averaged $2.32 nationwide and $2.25 in Florida.
At press time on Tuesday, May 16; gas prices averaged $2.34 nationwide.
Even if gas prices stay above last year’s levels, they should remain well below the prices seen on Memorial Day 2015.
Despite slightly higher gas prices this year, the vast majority of travelers (88.1 percent) are planning to hit the road for the holiday weekend.
Automobile travel will grow by 2.5 percent this Memorial Day, with 34.6 million Americans planning a holiday road trip – the most in 12 years.
“Motorists have enjoyed an unusual downward trend in gas prices for this time of year, thanks to record-high refinery activity and sluggish demand,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Unfortunately, gas prices appear to be leveling off as demand begins to grow, and crude inventories dropped last week. Where pump prices go from here will largely depend on new supply data from the EIA later today, and the outcome of an OPEC meeting just days before the Memorial Day weekend. Regardless, gas prices should not fluctuate to levels that would cause Americans to alter their holiday travel plans.”
Large Increases in Flying and Travel by Other Modes this 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.
The share for air travel will record the largest year-over-year growth among all transportation modes, climbing 5.7 percent from 2016.
This marks the fourth consecutive year of holiday air travel growth, due to Americans’ increased confidence in spending their rising incomes on taking a flight, which tends to be a more expensive mode of travel compared to auto, train or bus.
2.9 million Americans will fly to their destination – an increase of 152,000 from last year.
Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 3.2 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.
More Americans Plan 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.
Daily car rental rates will average $66, which is 7 percent more than last year.
BUSIEST AIRPORT PICK-UP LOCATIONS FOR RENTAL CARS
(According to HERTZ data from 2016)
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York, New York
Los Angeles (LAX)
San Francisco (SFO)
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 an extended vacation and travel internationally.
Europe is among the most popular vacations booked with AAA this year. Multiple European countries landed on our top 10 due to pent-up demand and continued favorable exchange rates.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. 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.