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 Memorial Day travel forecast, by the numbers:
- 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. This is despite paying the highest pas prices since 2015. 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.
- 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 of 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.
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.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be nine 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 seven percent more than last year.