NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Americans aren’t letting high travel costs get in the way of having their fun this Memorial Day weekend. In fact, AAA has found more Americans will be traveling this year.
According to AAA, about 34.9 million Americans will venture 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend, a slight increase of 0.2%, or 100,000 travelers, from the 34.8 million last year.
“Memorial Day travel experienced a gain of more than 14% in 2010, and this year we expect to add slightly to that gain due to an increase in air travel and an improvement in the overall domestic economic picture,” AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet said in a press release. “Some travelers will compensate for the higher fuel costs by cutting other areas of their travel budgets.”
The AAA estimates are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight, which surveyed 1,350 households about Memorial Day weekend travel plans. The survey was conducted between April 19 and April 23 this year.
Among its findings, the survey revealed the average distance expected to be traveled by Americans during Memorial Day weekend is 792 miles, 27% greater than last year’s average travel distance of 626 miles. Air travel might have something to do with it, as nearly 2.93 million travelers plan to fly during the holiday weekend, up 11.5% from last year’s 2.63 million air travelers, and despite the fact that AAA estimates travel prices will be higher (14%) than they were in 2010.
Hotel rates have also increased (5%) since a year ago, with travelers spending an average of $148 per night compared to $142 last year.
Gas prices impacted travel plans slightly more, with the number of motorists at 30.9 million in 2011, down from 31 million last year. The dip could have been worse considering the average price for regular gasoline across the U.S. stands at $3.91, a full $1.06 higher than last year. But AAA found that six out of 10 travelers wouldn’t change their travel plans in light of high gas prices, while the remainder planned to cut back costs by shortening their route or using another mode of transportation, such as a train or bus.
Looking for more ways to save on gas? MainStreet breaks down five simple ways to save at the pump.
—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.