More than 1.1 million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more on vacation during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, launching the start of the 2012 summer travel season, says AAA Michigan.
State travel is projected to be up slightly this holiday, compared to last year. AAA projects 34.8 million travelers nationally, an increase of 1.2 percent. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.
The iconic road trip will be the dominant mode of transportation this holiday. Approximately 30.7 million will travel by vehicle nationwide, almost nine out of ten holiday travelers (88 percent), also up 1.2 percent. Of Michigan's travelers, 973,000 – 91 percent – will drive by vehicle, slightly more than last year.
They will find Michigan gas prices about $3.74 per gallon (as of May 21), down 18 cents from last year.
While gas prices rose earlier this year, a survey of intended travelers found that 53 percent said gas prices would not impact their upcoming Memorial Day holiday travel plans. The remaining 47 percent of travelers who said prices would impact plans cited planning shorter trips and economizing in other areas as ways to offset fuel costs.
"We expect more people will travel across our state this holiday, and this summer season," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. He credited a slightly improving economy and pent-up demand among reasons for an anticipated two to three percent increase.
According to survey results, the average distance traveled during the holiday is expected to be 642 miles, 150 miles less than last year's average of 792 miles.
Last year, the shortest trips -- less than 150 miles -- made up 19 percent of total travel, compared to 21 percent this year. This reinforces the expectation that shorter trips will be more popular this holiday.
Median spending is expected to be $702, up from last year's $692.
For Michigan AAA members, the 10 most popular driving destinations in Michigan this year are:
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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