AAA projects 36.1 million Americans, or 11 percent of the population, will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

In the Pacific Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), Memorial Day travel is expected to increase by 1.8 percent, with 5.8 million or 11 percent of the population taking trips.  

The big story here is that travel volume is expected to hit a new post-recession high.  This Memorial Day is shaping up to be the second-busiest Memorial Day travel holiday since 2000. The improving economy is a major factor in driving travel.

Other interesting stats from our AAA survey:

•Most will drive to their Memorial Day destinations.  About 31.8 million people will go by car, an increase of 1.2 percent compared to last year. The number of auto travelers is at its highest volume since 2005.

•The number of auto travelers is at its highest volume since 2005.

•Almost nine out of ten holiday travelers (88 percent) will take to the nation’s roadways during the Memorial Day weekend keeping automobile travel in the traditional lead as the dominant mode of holiday travel transportation.  

•In the Pacific Region, 4.8 million plan to travel by car, an increase of 1.3 percent. This means that 84 percent of holiday travelers in this region will hit the roads for the holiday weekend.

•Gas prices are not keeping people home.   AAA expects that gas prices will likely be relatively similar or even a bit less than last year’s prices on Memorial Day.

•More people are flying this year.  More than 2.6 million leisure air travelers (more than seven percent of holiday travelers) will fly to their destinations, a 2.4 percent increase from last year.  

•In the Pacific region, 542,000 travelers (9.3 percent of holiday travelers) are expected to fly to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.5 percent compared to last year.

•Airfares rise.  Memorial Day holiday airfares are up about six percent compared to last year.

•Car rental rates up slightly.  Weekend daily car rental rates will average $44, one percent more than last year. 

•Hotel rates rise modestly.  Hotel rates are up two to three percent, depending on the type of lodging.

•AAA offers digital resources.  AAA makes trip planning tools accessible on the mobile devices travelers use every day at and