Record Holiday Travel Expected

May 27, 2004
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Record numbers of Americans will travel this Memorial Day holiday despite record-high gas
prices, according to AAA. AAA estimates that 36.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or
more from home this holiday, a robust 3.6 percent increase from last year. Approximately
30.9 million travelers (84 percent of all holiday travelers) expect to go by motor vehicle,
a 3.4 percent increase from the 29.9 million who drove a year ago. “Record-high gas prices
won’t keep Americans from traveling this holiday,” said AAA Travel Vice President Sandra
Hughes. “Despite gas prices that are nearly 50-cents per gallon higher than they were a
year ago, record numbers of travelers will hit the highways.” The strong holiday travel
forecast comes at a time when both the economy and travelers’ comfort with security have
improved during the last year. Auto travel remains hot, despite gas prices above $2 per
gallon in many parts of the country.” The greatest number of Memorial Day auto travelers
will originate in the West with 7.4 million, followed by the Southeast, 6.8 million;
Midwest, 6.6 million; Northeast, 5.6 million; and Great Lakes, 4.5 million. Oceans and
beaches topped the list of preferred destinations this holiday with 24 percent of travel
volume. Small towns and rural areas took a close second with 22 percent, just ahead of
cities, 21 percent. Lakes, 8 percent; mountains, 8 percent; state/national parks, 5
percent; and theme/amusement parks, 3 percent, rounded out the list. Another 7 percent
responded with other, and 2 percent said they didn’t know. Lodging reservations might be
hard to come by, as 45 percent of the total Memorial Day travelers expect to stay at a
hotel/motel. The other popular choice is friends or relatives, 32 percent, followed by
camper/trailer/RV/tent, 8 percent; cabin/condo, 4 percent; other, 2 percent; no overnight
stay, 5 percent; and didn’t know, 3 percent.

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