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AAA projects uptick in Memorial Day travelers
AAA projects that more than 3.7 million Californians will drive this upcoming holiday weekend. - photo by Photo Contributed

Memorial Day weekend may mean a day off from work, but for many people it also means hitting the road for vacation.

This year, Memorial Day travel is expected to mark the highest number of California travelers for this holiday since 2005, according to AAA’s latest holiday travel forecast. AAA’s travel survey projects nearly 4.4 million Californians plan on traveling 50 miles or more this Memorial Day holiday weekend. This represents an increase of 4.6 percent from last year’s record highs.

“A stronger economy and overall lower gas prices have boosted consumers’ disposable income,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “This summer travel season is starting off with great potential as many Californians are eager to take that long overdue weekend getaway.”

AAA projects that more than 3.7 million Californians will drive this upcoming holiday weekend, a 5.5 percent increase from last year. Air travel will increase by 2.6 percent compared to 2014 figures, with just over 419,000 Californians intending to fly to their holiday getaways. Approximately 294,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft. This represents a 3.4 percent decrease compared with 2014.

Nationally, AAA estimates that more than 37 million people will journey 50 miles or more during the Memorial Day weekend, representing a 4.7 percent increase compared to last year.

The AAA Leisure Travel Index shows that hotel rates at AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase by seven percent from a year ago, averaging $182 per night. Weekend car rentals rates will average $62 per day, $19.00 more than last year. Airfares are falling two percent for the top 40 domestic flight routes, averaging $222.