AAA Colorado Projects Memorial Day Travel to Decline Slightly

Coloradans Drive More and Fly Less

Denver, May 22, 2013– AAA Colorado projects 600,000 Coloradans, 11.7% of the state’s population, will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.6 percent decrease from 2012. Nationwide, 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

Longer drive trips this Memorial Day Weekend
Approximately 528,000 Colorado travelers, or almost nine out of ten holiday travelers (88 percent) plan to drive to their destination, the same number as those who drove last year. The automobile remains the dominant mode of travel for all holidays, including Memorial Day, due to its convenience, affordability and flexibility. According to the survey of intending travelers, the average distance traveled by Coloradans during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be 803 miles, which is 126 miles more than last year’s average. Air travel is projected to decrease 6.5 percent.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
A survey of intended travelers found that gasoline prices would have no impact on plans for 62 percent of travelers. Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas. Today’s average price for regular gasoline in Colorado is $3.82 compared to $3.77 a year ago.

Median spending is expected to increase as travelers priorities family and friends
Median spending during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be $730, twelve percent more than the $652 median spending last year. Transportation is expected to consume approximately 27 cents of every dollar. Travelers expect to spend 30 percent on food and beverage and 14 percent on lodging.

Outdoor activities popular
During the holiday weekend, more than half of intending Colorado travelers plan to visit with friends/family (52 percent) and more than two-thirds plan to dine out (68 percent). Other popular activities include shopping (44 percent), hiking and biking (34 percent) and touring and attending festival and fairs (33 percent). Visits to national or state parks (28 percents) and waterfronts (28 percent) will also be popular Memorial Day activities.

Car rental rates highest in four years, hotel rates rise modestly
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings nationwide are expected to increase over four percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $166 per night compared to $160 last year. Weekend daily car rental rates across the United States will average $43, an increase of 19 percent over last year and the highest rate recorded for the holiday since 2009.

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 the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA / IHS Global Insight Memorial Day 2013 Forecast can be found here.

AAA Colorado has more than 560,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings.