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Memorial Day travel to set new record high
AAA projects that more than 3.5 million Californians will drive this upcoming holiday weekend, a 1.4 percent increase from last year. - photo by Photo Contributed

This Memorial Day holiday is expected to bring out the second highest number of travelers since 2005, and the highest increase since the recession of 2008, according to AAA’s latest holiday travel forecast.  

AAA’s travel survey projects nearly 4.3 million Californians plan on traveling 50 miles or more this Memorial Day holiday weekend. This represents an increase of 1.8 percent from last year.

“Reports indicate a slow and steady economic upturn, boosting consumer confidence and spending,” said Pablo O’Brien, V.P. Travel Products, AAA Northern California. “Californians are hitting the roads and planning their getaways for the official summer travel kick-off.”                                    

AAA projects that more than 3.5 million Californians will drive this upcoming holiday weekend, a 1.4 percent increase from last year.  Air travel will increase by 2.4 percent compared to 2013 figures, with just over 400,000 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 an increase of 6.5 percent compared with 2013.

Nationally, AAA projects that over 36 million people will journey 50 miles or more during the  Memorial Day weekend, representing a1.5 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 2.0 percent from a year ago, averaging $166 per night, compared to $166 last year. Weekend car rentals rates will average $43 per day, 1 percent more than last year. Airfares are experiencing the biggest increase, with round-trip fares, for the top 40 U.S. routes, increasing six percent to $227 from $215 last year.

AAA’s projections are based on research conducted by IHS Global Insight. The Boston-based economic research and consulting firm teamed with AAA 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.