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A Record Number of Illinoisans Are Hitting the Road Memorial Day Weekend

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After a drop-off in holiday travel during the Great Recession, Illinois, along with a big chunk of America, is ready to hit the road over Memorial Day Weekend 2017.

Job uncertainty, along with record high gas prices kept many of us off the road during traditional travel holidays, but now for the 3rd straight year, the number of Illinoisans who’ve decided on a road trip is up, according to a release from AAA Chicago.

AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That is one million more travelers than last year taking to the roads, skies, rails and water, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29. In Illinois,1.95 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 1.9 percent increase from 2016. Of those travelers, 1.8 million will be driving (up 1.8 percent from 2016) and 101,000 will be flying to their destination (a 3.1 percent increase from 2016). Gas prices across Illinois are on average $2.39, down from $2.49 last month and about even with average prices a year ago.

A couple of other travel notes pertaining to Memorial Day Weekend:

  • 2017 will mark the third consecutive year of growth in Memorial Day travel with 2.7 percent more travelers than last year.
  • 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
  • 2.9 million Americans are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
  • 1.75 million travelers, an increase 2.9 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
  • Drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. Airfares, car rental rates and mid-range hotels are all trending higher than last Memorial Day.

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