Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day Forecast’

AAA forecasts the most holiday road trippers on record; INRIX predicts drive times could be more than three times longer than normal

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 15, 2019) – Nearly 43 million Americans will start their summers on a high note with a Memorial Day weekend getaway. This long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer vacation season, will see the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the bar set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with last year, a 3.6% increase.

Additional Resources

Despite a rising national gas price average that is inching closer to the $3 per gallon mark, the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. For these motorists, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”

By the numbers: 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 37.6 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.25 million people will take to the skies, 4.8% more than last year, second only to 2005.
  • Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 3.8% to 1.9 million passengers.

Drivers beware: Worst times to hit the road

For the 37.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers and Washington, D.C., could see three times the delay.

“Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Travelers should anticipate delays to start on Wednesday and continue through Memorial Day. Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes.”

 

Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
Atlanta Thursday, May 23 4:30 – 6:30 PM 2.2x
Boston Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
Chicago Friday, May 24 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Detroit Friday, May 24 2:30 – 4:30 PM 1.7x
Houston Sunday, May 26 2:15 – 4:15 PM 1.0x
Los Angeles Friday, May 24 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.0x
New York Thursday, May 23 4:45 – 6:45 PM 2.0x
San Francisco Saturday, May 25 1:00 – 3:00 PM 1.6x
Seattle Monday, May 27 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.0x
Washington, D.C. Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
      Source: INRIX

Higher gas prices won’t keep holiday travelers home
Gas prices have increased by more than 30 cents in the last two months with the national average approaching $3 per gallon ($2.86 on May 14, 2019), which is relatively on par with prices this time last year ($2.87 on May 14, 2018). However, 88% of travelers will choose to drive to their Memorial Day destinations this year, the most on record.

“When gas prices are expensive, travelers may shorten the distance of a road trip, eat out less or look for free activities,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “But, overall, prices are very similar to this time last year and, like then, they aren’t letting that deter them from taking summer road trips.”

Travelers to see relief in lower hotel and car rental costs

While road trippers are paying more to fill up their vehicles at the gas pump, some of that additional expense can be made up with lower prices on car rentals and hotels this Memorial Day. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental prices have declined 7% compared with last year, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2% and 3% cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated properties. Meanwhile, airfares are holding steady compared with last Memorial Day, for an average roundtrip price of $171.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas can expect an influx of travelers for the holiday. These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. San Francisco, California

For those travelers planning an international vacation for Memorial Day, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular locales for international vacations this Memorial Day weekend, with Vancouver, Canada, rounding out the top five.

According to Hertz, a more than 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), and San Francisco (SFO). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 24, with an average rental length of nearly five days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

AAA to rescue more than 353,000 motorists
AAA expects to be called on to rescue more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

AAA recommends motorist take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Methodology:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

About AAA:

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

About INRIX:
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

Orlando, Fla., May 12, 2009

Despite H1N1 flu scare, nation’s largest leisure travel organization says consumers ready to vacation and will shift travel destinations if necessary.  

AAA today projected the number of Americans traveling on vacation this Memorial Day holiday weekend will increase 1.5 percent from 2008 with approximately 32.4 million travelers taking a trip of 50 or more miles away from home. Last year, 31.9 million Americans traveled during the same period; a dramatic decline from the 35.3 million travelers who vacationed in 2007.

“Last year, soaring gas prices and a deteriorating economy resulted in far fewer trips being taken than had been forecasted,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA President & CEO. “The good news is sharply lower gasoline prices and plentiful travel bargains have Americans feeling better about taking a road trip this summer which should help tourism-based economic activity throughout the nation.” Approximately one in seven Americans is employed directly or indirectly by the hospitality and travel industry, Darbelnet said.

Additional Resources

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA earlier this year as part of an agreement 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 2009 Memorial Day holiday forecast can be found at AAA.com/news.

Car trips to increase as air travel dips

Trips by auto will be the beneficiary of Americans’ returning wanderlust with 27 million people – or nearly 83 percent of all travelers – planning a road trip. This is an increase from last Memorial Day when 26.3 million travelers paid among the highest fuel prices on record to travel by motor vehicle. This summer AAA does not expect the price of gasoline to average more than $2.50 per gallon. The current nationwide average price of self-serve regular is $2.248. In contrast to trips by personal automobile, trips by air will decline by 1 percent. Approximately 2.1 million Americans will travel by air over the holiday weekend, AAA said. This is 7 percent of total travelers. Trips by other modes, including rail, buses and watercraft, will be the dominant means of travel used by an estimated 3.3 million Americans, or 10 percent of all travelers.

Average spending will top $1,000 and average distance traveled will be 620 miles

The average distance traveled by Americans this Memorial Day holiday weekend is forecast to be approximately 620 miles, AAA reported. This is a slight decrease from 2008 when the average distance traveled was expected to be 640 miles. Average spending is estimated to be $1,052 this Memorial Day. Nearly 60 percent of Americans will spend time with friends and relatives over the holiday, and traveling as a family will be the most popular way to go with 34 percent of travelers making a journey with children or other family members.

Gas prices, airfare, rental car rates and some lodging costs will be lower

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, air fares over the Memorial Day holiday weekend are expected to decrease four percent from last year as air passengers will pay an average $176. Car rental rates will drop lower with consumers paying an average of $43 per day compared to $45 a year ago, a decrease of three percent. Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to be 12 percent less than last year with travelers spending an average of $142 per night. Travelers planning to stay at AAA Two Diamond hotels will pay an average of $104 per night, seven percent less than a year ago.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 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

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