The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is one million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.
“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”
The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
By the Numbers: Memorial Day Travel Forecast
- 2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.
- 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
- 2.9 million Americans are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
- 1.75 million travelers, an increase 2.9 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
- Drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.
Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88.1 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 2.4 percent this Memorial Day, with 34.6 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. The national average price for a gallon of gas today is $2.34, 11 cents 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, based on last year’s data.
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. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year, with 2.9 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 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. Daily car rental rates will average $66, which is 7 percent more than last year.
AAA to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists 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 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
AAA and Waze share perspectives on holiday travel
According to Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York are the busiest metro areas this Memorial Day weekend, based on last year’s accident and traffic jam data. For travelers visiting or driving through these cities, be aware of high traffic volumes on Thursday and Friday – New York City sees an average 27 percent increase in accident alerts on these two days.
The vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, and Americans will take advantage of the long holiday weekend this year. The top 5 US destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA travel bookings, are:
- Orlando, Florida
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- New York, New York
- Honolulu, Hawaii
According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Orlando (MCO), Atlanta (ATL) and Denver (DEN), based on data from 2016.
About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-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 Markit 2017 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
Gaylord Opryland Resort, recently named best resort in the South by the readers of Southern Living, will transform its nine acres of indoor gardens into a kaleidoscope of colors this summer with experiences inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass.”
From Memorial Day weekend through September 10, the resort’s annual SummerFest celebration, supported by Pepsi®, invites guests to step into the curious wonderland Alice encounters after falling through an enchanted rabbit hole.
Guests can test their skills in the “Follow the White Rabbit” Scavenger Hunt through the resort, or board the Delta Riverboats for some nonsensical magic on Hatter’s Floating Tea Party Cruise along a ¼-mile-long indoor river.
As visitors wander into Wonderland, they will be lured into Carroll’s original storybook with the Queen of Arts Tour, featuring works by local artists. Adding to the magic inside, visitors will find strolling entertainers including Alice herself and other characters from the story.
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Guided hotel and garden tours let guests further explore the resort’s indoor gardens, which are decked out with giant mushrooms, caterpillars, teacups and whimsical décor. Adults 21 and up can add a wine flight, starting with whites and moving to reds, along the tour.
The “Eat Me, Drink Me” Junior Chefs Camp lets aspiring culinarians learn from the hotel’s award-winning chefs and even get their own kid-sized chef hat and apron to take home.
The 2,888-room resort’s 20 restaurants and lounges will feature food and drink inspired by the popular novels, from merry un-birthday cupcakes to teapot cocktails and Rabbit Hole whiskey flights.
Additional activities include free nightly fountain shows, family-friendly films every night and the Aquafina® Splash Party—a poolside experience with music, food, drinks and lawn games. Guests can also make their very own furry friend at the resort’s Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience.
At Relâche Spa, resort guests can have their fingers and “toeses” painted red with the Queen of Hearts Roses Red Manicure/Pedicure and other Alice-inspired treatments. Kids can get wild and wacky with Mad Hatter Hair Color (washable, of course!) and Cheshire Cat face painting.
A trip to Music City wouldn’t be complete without great music. Live stage music takes place not only in the resort but at The Opry Backstage Grill next door and the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville.
Steps from Gaylord Opryland, guests can take in the wonder of country music’s most famous show—the Grand Ole Opry, as well as the General Jackson Showboat, one of the largest showboats in the U.S., and Opry Mills—Tennessee’s largest shopping destination. Plus, resort guests receive exclusive discounts at the city’s hottest new attraction—Madame Tussauds Nashville.
On the road? Why not take us with you. Our websites are mobile-friendly! Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide, I-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!
Find nearly 2,000 acres of vineyards in Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande wine regions located on the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route, along with old historic California townsites, outdoor adventure, and well, great wine! Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys offer the perfect growing climate for delicate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – warm sunny days that turn into cool coastal nights. Weather that is also perfect for wine tasting adventures and outdoor play!
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Ready for your next road trip? The winter doldrums are gone, replaced by the pleasant temperatures offered by Central Florida’s Great Outdoors. Each year, guests from all over the world flock to the West Volusia area, experiencing the area’s abundant wildlife, tropical plants, natural springs and unique eco-environments and habitats. To help you enjoy the new season, here are just a few of West Volusia’s top spots.
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Connecticut invites visitors and residents alike to kick off the warm weather travel season with new and improved attractions for families and adults, a new centrally located luxury hotel and plenty of arts and foodie events. Whether planning a romantic weekend getaway or family fun vacation, a day of adventure or retreat, travelers can find all the information they need, including suggested trip itineraries and travel packages, at www.CTvisit.com.
This spring and summer, there are even more reasons to visit Connecticut. Here are just a few top seasonal highlights:
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50 years ago, the “Summer of Love” hit the Bay Area. A half century later, San Mateo is still feeling groovy with one of the largest and most family-friendly events on the West Coast, The San Mateo County Fair (www.sanmateocountyfair.com). Over nine days of diverse entertainment, June 10 – 18, “Tradition Meets Innovation” in the uniquely California experience that matches the enthusiastic diversity of the region. Now through June 1, Pre-Sale Discounted All-Season-Passes are available online: $22 adult; $ 18 junior and senior. The purchase a season pass includes all nine days of the Fair and all concerts, exhibits and attractions.
“We were hip before there were hippies,” quipped Dana Stoehr, CEO of the San Mateo County Events Center and Fair, “Every year is the summer of love at the San Mateo County Fair and there’s something to love for everyone. Whether you’re looking for traditional food, fun and entertainment, or the hottest musical acts around, we’ve got a little something for everyone, and every generation.”
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