As the unofficial start of summer approaches, many New Jerseyans are ready to shake off the memory of another rough winter and kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway. AAA predicts that more than 950,000 New Jersey residents will hit the road, skies, rails or water this weekend, a 4.6 percent increase from the 917,000 that traveled in 2014, and the second-highest travel volume this decade.
Nationally, AAA predicts that 37.2 million will travel this year, a 4.7 percent increase from last year and the highest travel volume in 10 years.
Memorial Day kicks off the summer driving season, so the vast majority of travelers will drive to their destination. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 21 – Monday, May 25.
TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS
Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode
“After another cold winter, New Jerseyans are excited to finally trade in boots and jackets for flips flops and shorts,” said Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs and government relations for AAA New Jersey. “With the second-highest Memorial Day weekend travel expected this decade, it’s clear that New Jerseyans are ready to come out of hibernation and explore our national parks, beaches and great cities.”
A number of economic factors are contributing to the large increase in holiday travelers this year. “A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry,” continued Lewis.
IMPACT OF GASOLINE ON TRAVEL PLANS
Travelers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years. Today’s national average price is $2.70, $0.94 lower than last year ($3.64). In New Jersey, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.52, $0.97 lower than last year ($3.49). AAA predicts most U.S. travelers will pay the cheapest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years.
Memorial Day gas prices, average per gallon, in New Jersey for the past five years
2015: $2.52 (as of May 19, 2015)