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AAA: Record Number of Travelers Expected for Memorial Day

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AAA is projecting the upcoming Memorial Day weekend as one of the most traveled – if not the most-traveled – in history.

Just over 37 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the long weekend – from Thursday, May 21 to Monday, May 25.  That’s a 4.7% increase from last year, and is the highest travel volume for Memorial Day in a decade.

Of those traveling the majority – 33 million – will be driving to their destinations. That’s a 5.3% jump from a year ago. Mark Jenkins at the auto club says they’ll also find the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.

“Driving offers you that freedom to adjust your travel plans, and also control your expenses,” said Mark Jenkins at AAA South in Tampa. “Gas prices are a major driver in the increase in overall travel numbers this year. And gas prices right now are about a dollar cheaper than they were this time last year.”

Air travel is expected to increase by 2.5%, with travel by cruises, trains, and buses is expected to be down slightly.

Jenkins says there are numerous ways to stretch your vacation dollars. One begins with planning the trip, where you don’t need to go it alone. 

“One good way to save some money right off the bat is to use a travel agency,” Jenkins said. “Travel agents are typically the people who know the hoteliers, they have a great relationship, and know the ins and outs of the industry.”

And, if you can, bundle your travel essentials. Through websites or travel agencies you can acquire cheap airfare, a hotel reservation, and a rental car in a package, saving hundreds of dollars that you can spend elsewhere. You can also save some extra money by staying alert and checking the ups and downs on room rates.

Travelers can visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. And for those who overdo it, AAA once again offers its “Tow2Go” program. The number to call is (855) 286-9246.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.