Californians are expected to kickoff the unofficial start of summer in record numbers this weekend.
According to AAA’s first travel forecast of the summer,
nearly 5.2 million Californians are projected to travel over the
upcoming three-day weekend. This is an increase of 5.3 percent from
last year and the highest number on record for the
holiday. AAA projects that 41.5 million Americans will travel
nationwide, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than
a dozen years.
“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Northern California. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Californians all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season.”
2018 will be the seventh straight year of state growth and fourth consecutive year of nationwide growth during the holiday period. More than 4.3 million Californians will drive to their destinations, an increase of 5.2 percent over last year. Nearly 528,000 Californians are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 7.5 percent over last year.
For those traveling by car, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday and Friday – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. California gas prices are nearly 70 cents higher compared to last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply.
Travelers can expect
some relief in their wallets when paying for car rentals and most mid-range
hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average daily cost of
a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11
percent cheaper than last year at an average at $59. Travelers will also save
on AAA Three Diamond hotels, which are trending 14 percent less
expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly.