May 20, 2014 at 1:36 PM
More than 36 million Americans, including nearly 950,000 in New Jersey, plan to travel for the holiday.
FLORHAM PARK, NJ - With winter firmly in the rear-view mirror, many New Jerseyans are planning a Memorial Day weekend getaway; AAA predicts that nearly 950,000 New Jersey residents will hit the road, skies, rails or water this weekend, a 0.6 percent increase from the 938,000 that traveled one year ago. Nationally, AAA predicts that 36.1 million Americans will plan a getaway for the unofficial start of summer, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year.
Memorial Day kicks off the summer driving season, so automobile travel will be the dominant mode of transportation this year, both in New Jersey and nationally. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.
Travel by the numbers:
• New Jersey – 845,364, a 0.3% increase from last year
• Nationally – 31,802,000, a 1.2% increase from 2013
• New Jersey – 62,808, an increase of 2.4% from those who flew in 2013.
• Nationally – 2,561,000, an increase of 2.4% from last Memorial Day.
Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode
• New Jersey – 35,971 (8.6% of travelers), a 5.1% increase from those who traveled last year
• Nationally – 1,735,000, an increase of 6.5% from 2013
“Even though warmer temperatures are here and flowers are in bloom, thoughts of the historic cold are still fresh in the minds of New Jerseyans,” said Cathleen Lewis, Regional Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “The winter blues have awakened the travel bug in many and travel for Memorial Day is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”
In addition to seasonal rising temperatures, improvements in several key economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year. “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,” continued Lewis.
IMPACT OF GASOLINE PRICES ON TRAVEL PLANS
AAA expects that most drivers will pay lower gas prices by Memorial Day weekend due to rising supplies. AAA expects holiday gas prices to be relatively similar or even slightly less than last year’s national Memorial Day average of $3.63 per gallon, though unexpected developments such as refinery problems or international events could result in higher costs. With many plans already made and budgets set, it is unlikely that gas prices will have a significant effect on travel plans compared to a year ago.
Memorial Day gas prices, average per gallon, in New Jersey for the past five years
2014: $3.49 (as of May 20, 2014)
HITTING THE ROAD? MAKE SURE YOUR CAR IS UP FOR THE TRIP
AAA recommends routine, preventative maintenance to decrease the likelihood that a vehicle will break down on the roadside. The AAA Car Care Center in Springfield offers a free vehicle trip check—a multi-point vehicle inspection. Visit AAA.com/CarCare or call (973) 921-3559 to make a pre-trip appointment. On the go and need assistance? AAA offers the AAA Approved Automotive Repair Program to help motorists find quality auto repair facilities. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Visit AAA.com/Repair to find an approved facility or look for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair shops.
AAA OFFERS DIGITAL TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/Ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.
The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/Mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s 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.
The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, headquartered in Florham Park, provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to its nearly 400,000 members in Essex, Morris and Union Counties. The AAA New Jersey Automobile Club also owns and operates New Jersey’s first AAA Car Care Center, located in Springfield, N.J.