Travel for Memorial Day weekend expected to rise 1.5%

Americans plan to hit the road in big numbers this Memorial Day weekend, says the Auto Club of America

Americans are expected to shake off the memories of this winter's harsh storms and travel for the Memorial Day weekend in the highest numbers since the recession.

The Auto Club of America predicts that 36.1 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles for the start-of-summer holiday, a 1.5% increase over the same number last year.

The number of travelers is expected to be the highest total since 2005, when an estimated 44 million Americans traveled for the holiday.

Of those who plan to travel during the holiday, 88% plan to drive, about the same rate as last year, according to the Auto Club.

The average price of a regular gallon of gasoline across the country ($3.647) is now about the same price as during the Memorial Day weekend in 2013.

β€œThe winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high,” said Marshall L. Doney, chief operating officer of AAA.

The Auto Club also predicts that hotel prices for three- and two-diamond-rated hotels will increase by 2% and 3%, respectively, compared with the same weekend last year. Car rental rates for the weekend are expected to rise only 1%, according to the Auto Club.

The Auto Club also predicts that the cost of Memorial Day weekend air travel will rise an average of 6% for round-trip, discounted fares for the top 40 U.S. routes.

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