AAA predicts that travel will fall slightly this Memorial Day weekend,
as fewer people fly and driving vacations hold steady.
In Illinois, the number of travelers over the holiday weekend is expected to decline by 1 percent, to 1.8 million, according to the forecast by the auto club and research firm IHS Global Insight. Most of those Illinoisans, 1.6 million, are expected to drive to their destinations, the same as last year. About 88,000 residents are expected to fly, down more than 7 percent from last year.
AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 0.9 percent decrease from the 35.1 million people who traveled last year.
"Economic improvements from last year are not strong enough to spur an increase in travelers," said AAA Regional President Brad Roeber, who added that some would-be travelers were deterred this year by fights in Washington over federal spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Across the country, a similar decline in air travelers and stability in driver numbers is expected. Overall spending and trip distance is also expected to decrease as gas prices rise.
Gas prices across Illinois stand at $4.06 a gallon on average, up from $3.87 at this point in 2012. In Chicago, the average is now $4.24, up from $4.09 last year.
Travelers will have to try harder to save money this year as costs for flights, hotels and cars are all expected to be higher than a year ago. Airfares are projected to be up almost 10 percent from 2012, AAA said, and car rental rates should be at their highest point in four years. Hotel rates are expected to rise slightly.
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