The American Automobile Association estimates there will be 34.8 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles over the Memorial Day weekend, which begins Thursday for some lucky travelers. It's a 1.4 percent increase in total travelers compared to last year's Memorial Day.
"The overall domestic economic picture continues to improve slightly, however, American consumers faced a new challenge this year as steadily increasing gas prices throughout the spring significantly squeezed many household budgets," said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. "Americans will still travel during the Memorial Day holiday weekend but, many will compensate for reduced travel budgets by staying closer to home and cutting entertainment dollars."
Indeed, Americans will travel fewer miles and spend less money while their there, the study concluded. The average distance traveled by an American this weekend is estimated at 642 miles, down from 792 last year. Much of that drop comes from the 5.5 percent drop in air travel this year, when 2.5 million people will take the skies.
No, this year, 9 out of 10 travelers will opt for a road trip instead of any other way. And 21 percent of those people are expected to drive less than 150 miles over the weekend.
In recent weeks, tumbling gas prices may give travelers a few more pennies in their pocket, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is $3.69 -- 25 cents lower than last year, travelers will pay more for hotels.
AAA Three Diamond lodging climbed 8 percent to $160 a night this year and Two Diamond lodging rose 10 percent to $120.