AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That’s up 2.7 percent and adds up to about one million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005. In the Pacific Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), 6.5 million people are expected to travel, a 3.4 percent increase compared to 2016. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
“This is the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel and is the second-highest travel volume on record for the holiday,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Spikes in consumer confidence and personal income are fueling the increases, with many Americans choosing to spend their extra dollars on travel this year.”
Most will drive to their Memorial Day destinations despite higher gas prices
Memorial Day kicks off the summer driving season and car travel is expected to account for 88 percent of all travel nationally, with 34.6 million travelers driving to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to 2016.
In the Pacific region, 5.4 million or 84 percent will travel by car, an increase of 3 percent compared to last year.
AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. The current national average is $2.34, while the current Oregon average is $2.74.
Large increases in flying and travel by other modes this Memorial Day
While road trips continue to be the most popular way to travel 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. In the Pacific Region, 645,000 travelers are expected to fly, an increase of 6.2 percent compared to last year.
Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent, to 1.75 million travelers.
Airfares and car rental rates on the rise; for hotels it depends on the property
Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 9 percent higher this Memorial Day, with an average round trip ticket costing $181, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
Hotel costs are up or down, depending on the type of property. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels average $215 per night, up 18 percent from 2016. AAA Two Diamond Rated hotels cost an average of $141 per night, down six percent.
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. The busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car are expected to be Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Orlando (MCO), Atlanta (ATL) and Denver (DEN).
AAA to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists nationally and 4,620 in Oregon and Idaho 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
Many Memorial Day vacationers traveling abroad this year
While the vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, many others will take advantage of the long holiday weekend and travel further from home. These are the top destinations for AAA Oregon/Idaho this Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA.com and AAA travel agency sales:
1. Orlando, Florida
2. Rome, Italy
3. San Francisco
5. San Diego
“Other top regional destinations for Memorial Day include the Oregon coast, central Oregon, Seattle, Las Vegas and Vancouver, Canada. And for families, the theme parks in southern California are always popular. The new ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout’ ride opens on May 27 at Disney California Adventure Park," says Doreen Loofburrow, Vice President of Travel for AAA Oregon/Idaho.