The number of projected Memorial Day travelers, 41.5 million
Americans, is up 5% from last year and at its highest point in over 12 years,
according to AAA.
Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and
Publishing, attributed the growth -- nearly 2 million more travelers -- to "a
strong economy and growing consumer confidence." He said the holiday
weekend will "kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season."
Most travelers, 36.6 million, will drive this Memorial Day
weekend. That represents a 4.7% increase in drivers over last year, even though
the price of gas is up 33 cents from last year with an average of $2.72 per
gallon in April.
Air travel will increase 6.8% to 3.1 million people. Based
on the AAA Leisure Travel Index, airfares are 7% lower this Memorial Day
weekend than they were last year. The average price of a roundtrip flight in
the top 40 domestic routes is $168 this year.
Travel via trains, buses and cruises will increase 2.4% to
Like airfares, some hotel rates are less expensive this year:
AAA Three Diamond hotels have an average rate of $186, down 14%. Two Diamond
hotels have an average rate of $151, 7% more expensive.
AAA rates properties on a scale of one to five. One Diamond
hotels are budget-oriented, while Five Diamond hotels are luxury properties.
Domestically, AAA said Orlando is again the most popular
Memorial Day destination. It is followed by Seattle, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Anchorage,
Phoenix, Anaheim, Boston, Denver and New York. Internationally, Rome, Dublin
and London are the most popular destinations.