AAA Hawaii projects more travelers heading both into and out of the islands this upcoming holiday weekend than during any other Memorial Day travel period since 2005, with 37.2 million Americans expected to journey 50 miles or more from home between Thursday, May 21 and Monday, May 25.
The number of travelers is expected to be 4.7 percent higher than last year.
Highlights from 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast:
- Despite recent increases, driving vacationers in Hawaii and on the mainland will likely pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in six years. The Hawaii state average price today is $3.22, more than a dollar a gallon below last year’s average of $4.38. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.66, $1.00 less than the average price on Memorial Day last year.
- The 4.7 percent increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.
- More than 88 percent of travelers (33 million) will travel by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
- Holiday air travel is expected to increase by 2.5 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers.
- Travel by other modes of transportation including cruises, trains and buses, is expected to decrease 3.6 percent this Memorial Day, to 1.64 million.
- Travelers will encounter higher lodging costs this year, while airfares are down slightly compared to Memorial Day 2014.
A number of economic factors are contributing to the large increase in holiday travelers this year. “A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry,” said Marshall Doney, AAA president.
Hotel and car rental rates increase, airfares fall slightly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average nightly stay in a Two Diamond hotel is 16 percent higher this year at $144, while Three Diamond hotels will cost seven percent more, averaging $182. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are two percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.
Travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA projection details
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.