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What to Expect: Memorial Day Travel, Weather

“The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high,” said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago Regional President.

What to Expect: Memorial Day Travel, Weather
AAA Travel projects 36.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year. 

Kicking off the summer driving season, more than eight in ten travelers will be driving to their destinations. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to be ideal for Chicagoland this Memorial Day weekend. Temperatures will begin to rise on Saturday, reaching the 80s by the end of the holiday weekend, according to accuweather.com. 

"Mostly sunny skies accompanied by temperatures around 70 F on Saturday will be followed by highs approaching 80 F on Sunday. For those celebrating the holiday outdoors, both days will be rain- and storm-free," according to accuweather.com. "For Memorial Day, temperatures will breach the 80 F mark, but a shower or thunderstorm during the afternoon hours could dampen holiday parades and activities."

In Illinois, 1.9 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a one percent increase from 2013. Of those travelers, 1.7 million will be driving (up .5 percent from 2013) and 100,000 will be flying to their destination (a 4.3 percent increase from 2013). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $3.78, down from $3.98 in 2013.

Highlights from 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast Include:
  • Memorial Day holiday travel volume is expected to reach a new post-recession high with 36.1  million Americans taking a trip
  • The 2014 forecast is 2.6 percent higher than the ten-year historical average and the second highest travel volume since 2000
  • Eighty-eight percent of travelers (31.8 million) to travel by automobile, an increase from 31.4 million last year
  • Holiday air travel expected to increase from 2.4 percent to 2.6 million leisure travelers 
In addition to seasonal rising temperatures, improvements in several key economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year.

The unforgiving winter was a hindrance to economic growth at the beginning of the year but economic factors influenced by weather, such as car and home sales, appear to be resolving themselves now.  Indicative of the unusually harsh winter, AAA experienced an increase of nearly 12 percent in battery related calls this winter.
 
“The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high,” said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago Regional President. “As the economy continues to improve at a slow and steady pace consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and the employment outlook are trending up which is welcomed news for the travel industry.”
 
Source: AAA Chicago 

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