"Up and down economy" and unemployment will keep more Americans close to home this Memorial Day weekend
Fewer Americans will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA’s "Memorial Day Travel Forecast” released Wednesday.
AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which is defined as Thurs. May 23 through Mon. May 27. This is a 0.9 percent decrease from 2012.
Several factors are keeping more Americans at home this Memorial Day, including “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,” offered AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbeinet in a statement. Darbeinet also suggested that the impact of the sequester is another factor inhibiting Memorial Day travel plans.
Eight-nine percent of travelers surveyed will be traveling by car, a slight increase over last year, the forecast finds, while holiday air travel is expected to decrease eight percent from last year. Almost two-thirds of drivers surveyed said that gasoline prices, which have spiked recently and are currently in line with this time last year), will have no impact on their Memorial Day travel plans. Of the remaining 38 percent who said gas prices will impact their plans, 27 percent pan to economize in other areas. Eight percent said they plan to take a shorter trip, while 3 percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation.
Though fewer Americans may be traveling this holiday weekend, those who are will be traveling longer distances, the AAA survey finds. The average distance traveled by Americans during this holiday weekend is expected to be 690 miles, an increase of 48 miles over last year’s average. “It appears auto travelers will be taking longer road trips as travelers expect fuel to consume a larger share of their travel budget,” the forecast states.
Memorial Day spending, too, is expected to decrease this year from a median $702 in 2012 to $659, with transportation expected to consumer approximately 28 cents of every dollar. Travelers expect to spend 22 percent on food and beverages and 20 percent on lodging.
More than half of holiday travelers surveyed (59 percent) intend to visit with family and friends. Other popular Memorial Day travel activities include shopping (44 percent), going to the beach (32 percent) and touring and sightseeing (27 percent).
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Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.