Memorial Day travel expected to hit highest level since 2005

Staff Reports • Updated May 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM

One million more travelers will take to the road, sky, rails and water for Memorial Day this year, creating the highest travel volume for the holiday since 2005. 

AAA projects 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home during the Memorial Day weekend. The total number of Tennessee travelers is expected to top 785,000, an almost 2 percent increase compared to last year. 

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Vicky Evans, assistant vice president of travel sales development for AAA. “So far in 2017, travel bookings with AAA in Tennessee are up almost 4 percent, compared to the same period last year. Higher confidence, rising wages, and recent gas price declines have bolstered consumer spending, leaving many Americans with more money to spend on travel this Memorial Day.”

The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as May 25-29.

By the numbers:

• 2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.

• Travel volumes for all modes of transportation are forecast to be the highest since 2005.

• 34.6 million Americans or 88.1 percent of travelers will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.

• 2.9 million Americans will fly, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.

• 1.75 million travelers – an increase of 2.9 percent from 2016 – will take other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.

• Tennessee gas prices are leveling off after declining for more than three weeks. Wednesday’s Tennessee state average of $2.09 was 7 cents less than what motorists paid at Memorial Day 2016.

• Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.

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