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AAA says 37.2 Million Americans to Kick Off Summer with a Memorial Day Getaway

 

Strong economy and low gas prices drive 4.7 percent increase in holiday travel over 2014

AAATampa, FL – AAA projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The total travel volume is a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.

Kicking off the summer driving season, 33 million travelers will pack up the family vehicle and drive to their destinations. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 21st to Monday, May 25th.

2006-2015 Number of Memorial Day Travelers

Highlights from 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast

  • How they are getting there Memorial DayThe 2015 Memorial Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, since 2005.
  • Most drivers will likely pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.66, $1 lower than the average price for Memorial Day last year.
  • The 4.7 percent increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.
  • More than 88 percent of travelers (33 million) will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers.
  • Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day, to 1.64 million.
  • Travelers will encounter higher average daily car rental and lodging costs this year, while airfares are slightly lower compared to Memorial Day 2014.
Total Travel Auto Air Other Modes
U.S. 37 million +4.7% 33 million +5.3% 2.6 million +2.4% 1.64 million -3.6%
Florida 1,913,904 +5.3% 1,717,712 +5.8% 139,765 +2.9% 56,427 -3.1%
Georgia 1,071,976 +4.9% 962,089 +5.4% 78,282 +2.5% 31,604 -3.5%
Tennessee 754,930 +4.6% 668,866 +5.2% 55,177 +2.3% 30,887 -3.7%
Percentages above represent the comparison to Memorial Day 2014

 

“Americans have more money in their pockets this year due to rising wages and lower gas prices,” said Brent Stahlheber, Sr. Vice President – Brand Marketing and Travel, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Those factors, coupled with other improvements in the overall economic picture should help generate the highest traveled Memorial Day holiday in a decade. This is welcome news for the travel industry, which should see this upward momentum carry into the summer.”

Impact of gasoline prices

Average gas prices for Memorial DayTravelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years. Today’s national average price is $2.66, $1.00 lower than last year. Current average prices in Florida (2.638), Georgia (2.549), and Tennessee (2.416), are also cheaper than last year’s Memorial Day averages by 99 cents, $1.07, and $1.13 respectively. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers will pay the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.

“Low gasoline prices are having a ripple effect throughout this year’s travel forecast,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Low pump prices are making auto travel more appealing, which explains the decline in use of ‘other modes of transportation’ like bus and train. The price of gas often declines heading into the Memorial Day weekend. That will likely happen again this year, as long as oil prices stop rising.”

Tips for drivers

Top 10 Memorial Day Destinations
  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Myrtle Beach, SC
  4. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. Branson, MO
  7. Miami, FL
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Asheville, NC
  10. Charleston, SC
Based on AAA.com hotel bookings for Memorial Day weekend

More than 88 percent (33 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 5.3 percent increase from 2014. AAA expects to rescue nearly 350,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check battery and tire condition before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA mobile app (AAA.com/mobile), visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown.

Hotel and car rental rates increase, airfares fall slightly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average daily car rental rate this Memorial Day is $19 higher than last year. The average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is 16 percent higher this year at $144, while Three Diamond hotels will cost seven percent more, averaging $182. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are two percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.

Travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel.

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.

 

Memorial Day Gasoline Prices National Florida Georgia Tennessee
2000 $1.537 $1.540 $1.406 $1.458
2001 $1.705 $1.639 $1.491 $1.572
2002 $1.403 $1.450 $1.252 $1.329
2003 $1.493 $1.471 $1.313 $1.387
2004 $2.048 $2.036 $1.934 $1.934
2005 $2.096 $2.148 $1.974 $1.990
2006 $2.852 $2.818 $2.710 $2.668
2007 $3.209 $3.125 $3.086 $3.032
2008 $3.936 $3.934 $3.914 $3.816
2009 $2.424 $2.418 $2.288 $2.295
2010 $2.732 $2.722 $2.619 $2.595
2011 $3.785 $3.735 $3.684 $3.575
2012 $3.641 $3.474 $3.394 $3.331
2013 $3.631 $3.475 $3.480 $3.274
2014 $3.657 $3.619 $3.617 $3.000

 

About the Forecast

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 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

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, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 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 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


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