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Nearly 42 million Americans will kick off summer with Memorial Day getaway

Staff Writer |
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Americans will kick off the season by traveling in near-record numbers.

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According to Memorial Day getaway, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years.

With nearly 2 million additional people taking to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 36.6 million – will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.

Planes: 3.1 million people will travel by air, a 6.8 percent increase and the fifth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.

Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.4 percent to 1.8 million passengers.

The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, an increase of 33 cents from last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply.

However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year, by nearly 5 percent over last Memorial Day.

While road trippers will pay higher prices at the gas pump this year, travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for airfare, car rentals and most mid-range hotels.

According to Memorial Day getaway's Leisure Travel Index, airfares are 7 percent lower than last Memorial Day, landing at an average price of $168 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes.

At $59, 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.

Travelers will also save on Memorial Day getaway Three Diamond hotels this Memorial Day, which are trending 14 percent less expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly. Meanwhile, Memorial Day getaway Two Diamond hotels are 7 percent more expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average nightly cost of $151.

Orlando again tops this year's list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on Memorial Day getaway advance travel bookings.

Cruises to Alaska, originating in Seattle and Anchorage, as well as warm-weather destinations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Phoenix and southern California top travelers' domestic itineraries this summer.


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