Thursday, May 23, 2013

Americans To Drive More, Spend Less During 2013 Memorial Day Holiday

ORLANDO, Florida -- AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the 2013 Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from the 35.1 million people who traveled last year.  The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined this year as Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.


"AAA is forecasting Memorial Day travel  to be slightly lower this year due to an up and down economy, the impact of the end of the payroll tax holiday on working families and a 30-year low in the percentage of working age people in the workforce," said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet


Approximately 31.2 million people plan to drive to their destination, an increase of 0.25 percent from the 31.1 million who drove last year which is good news for Florida tourism that is heavily dependent on automobile-traveling tourists.  Almost nine out of ten holiday travelers (89 percent) will take to the nation's roadways during the Memorial Day weekend, keeping automobile travel in the traditional lead as the dominant mode of holiday travel transportation.


Despite high gasoline prices, a AAA survey of intended travelers found that gasoline prices would have no impact on plans for 62 percent of travelers. Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas.  Eight percent are planning to take a shorter trip and three percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation. 


AAA added that the anticipated overall decline in holiday travel is predominately due to a decline in air travel of eight percent, fee fatigue among travelers and a waffling economy.


"The primary driver of the decline in holiday travelers is an eight percent decrease in the number of people expected to take to the skies this holiday," Darbelnet said. "American travelers are experiencing fee fatigue and frustration with everything from higher fares to airport security.  As a result, many are choosing road travel in higher numbers due to the lower cost and convenience it offers."


Median spending during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be $659, six percent less than the $702 median spending last year. Transportation is expected to consume approximately 28 cents of every dollar.