May 17, 2017

Memorial Day Travel at Highest Level in 12 Years


Memorial Day Travel at Highest Level in 12 Years

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 17, 2017) - AAA expects the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record, with 39.3 million Americans (more than 1.5 million Ohioans) traveling at least 50 miles from home between Thursday, May 25 and Monday, May 29. This is an increase of 2.7 percent (2.2 percent in Ohio) and marks the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.

Economy Boosts Travel:

Overall economic growth has helped boost this year’s Memorial Day holiday travel. Household net worth is up, and unemployment is down. Consumers are more confident in the economy and are allocating more money to travel.   

 “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.

Auto Travel:

Nearly 91 percent of Ohio travelers (close to 1.4 million), will drive to their destinations this Memorial Day. This is an increase of 2.2 percent, and marks the sixth consecutive year of auto travel growth in Ohio.

More Americans are planning to rent cars for their holiday road trips this year. AAA’s car rental bookings are up 19 percent from last Memorial Day. The busiest day for car rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 26, according to Hertz.

AAA, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio State Highway Patrol will hold a media availability session, May 17, 10:30 a.m. on the corner of Goodale and Park Streets in Columbus to prepare motorists for holiday travel. Topics will include:

  • AAA: Nationally, nearly 350,000 of the expected 34.6 million Americans taking a holiday road trip will turn to AAA for roadside assistance over the holiday weekend. The auto club urges drivers to take precautions to avoid breakdowns.
  • ODOT: Ongoing and active construction projects will also impact traffic throughout the state, but ODOT will try to reduce their impact as much as possible over the holiday weekend. Last year, there were 6,041 work zone crashes. They resulted in 810 minor injuries, 186 serious injuries, and 28 deaths.
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol: Seat belt usage will be a primary focus of the Ohio State Highway Patrol during Memorial Day weekend and for good reason: buckling up is the easiest way to increase safety while driving. During Memorial Day weekend, troopers will be out on Ohio roads to encourage drivers to wear their safety belts.

Air Travel:

Rising airfares aren’t grounding holiday travelers. Nearly 3 million travelers (more than 80,000 Ohioans) will fly to their destination. This is a 5.5 percent increase over last year (3.4 percent in Ohio) and marks the fourth consecutive year of holiday air travel growth (second year in Ohio).

Airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 9 percent higher this Memorial Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $181, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.

Popular Destinations:

While the vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, others will take advantage of the long holiday weekend and travel internationally, with Europe especially popular this year. The top destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA travel bookings, include:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. London, England
  4. Dublin, Ireland
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Seattle, Wash.
  7. Las Vegas, Nev.
  8. New York, N.Y.
  9. Paris, France
  10. Honolulu, Hawaii

Other popular road trip destinations for Ohio travelers this holiday and throughout the summer include Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Chicago, Ill.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Cancun, Mexico; and close-to-home getaways to Lake Erie Shores and Islands, Hocking Hills, the Ohio State Parks and Amish Country.

Travel Costs:

Hotel costs have increased since last Memorial Day, with the average AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel up 18 percent to $215 per night. Memorial Day weekend car rental rates will average $66 a day, which is 7 percent more than last year.

Holiday Forecast Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2017 Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast can be found at Newsroom.AAA.com.

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. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.


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