HAMILTON, N.J., May 20, 2014 – Approximately 944,000 New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2014, a slight increase of 0.6% compared to the  938,500 who traveled in 2013.  The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

“The majority of New Jerseyans, 845,000, plan to travel by automobile, up only 0.4% from the 843,000 who drove to their holiday destination last year,” according to Sue Madden, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “AAA is projecting that 89% of holiday travelers will take to the New Jersey’s roadways during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so motorists need to pack their patience along with the sunscreen as they set out for the Jersey Shore.” 

“Warmer weather is finally here, but the brutal winter weather and record breaking snowfall totals are still fresh in our minds,” Madden continued.  “The winter blues and severe cabin fever have given Americans the travel bug as travel for the Memorial Day holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”

 

Improved weather and better economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year. Consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and the employment outlook are trending up which is welcomed news for the travel industry.  Economic factors influenced by weather, such as car and home sales, appear to be resolving themselves now.

Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans

AAA expects lower gas prices by Memorial Day weekend, due to rising supplies. Holiday gas prices should be similar to, 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. But 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.

The current New Jersey average price for regular gasoline is $3.50, compared to $3.41 this time last year.

Nationally, AAA projects the number of Americans traveling for the Memorial Day 2014 to increase 1.5% compared to 2013.  Approximately 36.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home.   Last year, 35.5 million Americans traveled during the same period. The 2014 forecast is 2.6 percent higher than the ten-year historical average and the second highest travel volume since 2000.  

 

Travel Breakdown:

Automobile

  • New Jersey—845,364 (89% of all travelers), up 0.4% compared to the 842,940 who drove in 2013.
  • Nationally—31.8 million (88% of all travelers), a 1.2% increase from the 31.4 million who drove last year.

Air

  • New Jersey—62,808 (6% of all travelers), up 0.4% from 61,348 last year.
  • Nationally—2.6 million (7% of all travelers), an increase of 2.4% from Memorial Day Weekend 2013.

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Multi-Modal Travel

  • New Jersey—35,971 (4% of all travelers), up 5.1% from 2013.
  • Nationally—About 1.7 million (4.7% of all travelers), up of 4.7% from the 2013 holiday weekend.

AAA’s digital tools include TourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at http://www.aaa.com/ebooks. 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 http://www.aaa.com/mobile

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 2014 Memorial Day Travel Forecast can be found here.