This Memorial Day holiday weekend will be another busy one
for travelers, according to AAA's annual forecast, which predicts almost 43
million Americans will get away for the holiday.
That is 1.5 million more travelers than last year, a 3.6%
increase. That volume was only surpassed in 2005, the busiest Memorial Day
holiday weekend on record since AAA started tracking it in 2000.
"We're certainly in a fantastic year," said Paula
Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel. "Consumer confidence is extremely
high. The GDP itself is 2.3% higher than last year. Unemployment is at an
all-time low of less than 3.6%. People are spending money, and travel is that
certain element that they never want to give up."
Most Memorial Day weekend travelers will take a road trip.
According to AAA, 37.6 million will drive to their getaway, 3.5% more than last
year. They can expect the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 24,
and Friday, May 25, in the late afternoon, according to INRIX in collaboration
Another 3.25 million will fly, up 4.8% over last year. The
remaining vacationers, 1.9 million, will travel via trains, buses and cruise
ships, up 3.8% compared to last year.
Vacationers will see a decline in car rental cost with an
average daily rate of $55, according to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, down 7%
compared to last year.
Mid-range hotels are about 2-3% cheaper this year. AAA Two
and Three Diamond Rated properties will have average nightly rates of $146 and
Airfares are about on par with last year, with an average
roundtrip price of $171.
The top travel destinations based on AAA Travel bookings
are, in order, Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Anaheim, Seattle,
Phoenix, Anchorage, Tampa and San Francisco.
Internationally, Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the top
destinations, followed by Vancouver.