2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast Marks Highest Traffic Volume for Holiday in 10 Years

Traffic jam by Oran Viriyincy
Photo copyright Oran Viriyincy   https://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

AAA Forecasts a 4.7 percent increase in holiday travel over 2014
Approximately 37.2 million motorists will pack the nation’s highways this weekend as they travel at least 50 miles for their Memorial Day festivities, a 4.7 increase from the 35.5 million who traveled last year, and the highest travel volume for the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend since 2005. Low gas prices play in role in why nearly 33 million Americans will be driving to their destinations, 5.3 percent above last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday May 21 to Monday, May 25.

Holiday air travel is also up 2.5 percent to 2.6 million travelers, while travel by cruises, trains and buses is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day to 1.64 million. 

“These latest numbers prove that more Americans are ready to kick off the summer season to spend time with loved ones near and far,” according to Jim Lehman, President, AAA East Central. “Auto travel continues to be the most popular mode of travel. More than 88 percent of holiday travelers will be driving, and will be seeing lower gas prices in many surrounding areas,” he added. 

Mid-Atlantic region
Over 4.4 million people from the Mid-Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) expect to travel this holiday weekend.

  • Car Travel: 3.9 million (up 5.1 percent from 2014)
  • Air Travel: 288,000 (up 2.2 percent from 2014)
  • Other Modes: 146,000 (down 3.8 percent from 2014)

East North Central region
More than 6 million people from the East North Central states (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin) expect to travel this holiday weekend.

  • Car Travel: 5.4 million (up 5.4 percent from 2014)
  • Air Travel: 313,000 (up 2.5 percent from 2014)
  • Other Modes: 247,000 (down 3.5 percent from 2014)

East South Central region
More than 2 million people from the East South Central states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi) expect to travel this holiday weekend.

  • Car Travel: 1.8 million (up 5.1 percent from 2014)
  • Air Travel: 147,000 (up 2.1 percent from 2014)
  • Other Modes: 82,000 (down 3.8 percent from 2014)

South Atlantic region
Nearly 6.9 million people from the South Atlantic states (West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.) expect to travel this holiday weekend.

  • Car Travel: 6.3 million (up 5.4 percent from 2014)
  • Air Travel: 510,000 (up 2.5 percent from 2014)
  • Other Modes: 206,000 (down 3.5 percent from 2014)

Impact of gasoline prices 
Travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years. Today’s national average price is $2.659, nearly a dime less than last year’s price of $3.656. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers will pay the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. 

Tips for drivers
More than 88 percent (33 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 5.3 percent increase from 2014. AAA expects to rescue nearly 350,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists inspect their vehicle and check battery and tire condition before heading out on a holiday getaway. Members can download the AAA mobile app (AAA.com/mobile), visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. 

Hotel and car rental rates increase, airfares fall slightly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average daily car rental rate this Memorial Day is $19 higher than last year. The average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is 16 percent higher this year at $144, while Three Diamond hotels will cost seven percent more, averaging $182. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are two percent cheaper this year, falling to $222. 

Travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

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 major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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 on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 83 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia servicing more than 2.7 million members. 
 

-AAA-
For More Information Contact Chelsea Pompeani, Public Affairs Director
at 412-365-7274 or cpompeani@aaaec.com