Memorial Day travel will match 2002 levels

Memorial Day travel will match 2002 levels Despite continued economic sluggishness and lingering effects of the war in Iraq, Americans will travel this Memorial Day holiday in numbers equal to last year, according to AAA.

AAA estimates that 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, up a slight 0.1 percent from last year. Approximately 29.4 million travelers (84 percent of all holiday travelers) expect to go by motor vehicle, a 0.3 percent increase from the 29.3 million who drove a year ago. Another 3.9 million (11 percent of holiday travelers) plan to travel by airplane, down 2.5 percent from last Memorial Day. A projected 1.7 million vacationers (5 percent) will go by train, bus or other mode of transportation, unchanged from a year ago.

"Given conditions just two months ago with the U.S. at war, record-high gasoline prices and dismal consumer confidence, AAA is encouraged to see holiday travel return to 2002 levels," said Cheri Cihak, AAA South Dakota's director of public affairs and marketing. "The 20-cent-per-gallon average drop from March's record-high gas prices will certainly help the nearly 30 million Americans driving to their Memorial Day destination."

Research for Memorial Day travel is based on a national telephone survey of 1,300 adults by the Travel Industry Association of American, which conducts special research for AAA.

AAA is a not for profit federation of 86 clubs with more than 1,000 offices providing 43 million members in the United States and Canada with travel, insurance, financial and auto-related services. AAA South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Madison, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sioux Falls (3), Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

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