Ready to hit the road? Expect big crowds on the highways this weekend as Americans take advantage of a five-year low in gasoline prices and hit the road in numbers not seen in a decade.
AAA projects that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home. That’s a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. Of those, 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations.
“Gas prices are low, the economy is getting better, and people have money to spend and places to go,” said Washington-based U.S. Travel AssociationPresident and CEO Roger Dow.
Dow said that Memorial Day travelers will spend $12.3 billion over the weekend, about $330 per person.
The American Petroleum Institute said that the drop in gasoline prices has given average households a savings of around $750 this year. That, coupled with other factors like a lower rate of unemployment and a higher rate of disposable income, are allowing Americans to splash out on travel.
All this is good news to retailers, especially hot dog vendors –who see Memorial Day as the start to their yearly explosion of wiener sales.
And if you’re stumped for a place to go, check out where the U.S’s best beaches are or how to salute the troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.