In less than two weeks, Coloradans will catch trains, planes, buses and cruise ships for the Memorial Day holiday.
But by far, the most common mode of travel will be in their own vehicles or rentals, whether that be by motorcycle, car or recreational vehicle, according to a projection released Wednesday by AAA Colorado.
All together about 785,000 Coloradans will head out for an extended weekend vacation, with 690,000 traveling in their own vehicles, AAA Colorado said. That’s a 3.75 percent increase over 2018 despite gas averaging a dime per gallon more than it did this time last year.
Across the U.S., 43 million Americans will travel during the Memorial Day weekend, Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesman, said. That’s 1.5 million more than last year and would be the second busiest in U.S. history for Memorial Day trave.
“Slightly more expensive gas just isn’t going to keep anybody home this Memorial Day weekend,” McKinley said. “Increasingly optimistic about their economic futures, Coloradans have prioritized saving for and spending money on travel, and near-record numbers will do just that for Memorial Day.”
About 70,000 Coloradans will travel by plane and another 30,000 will take trains, buses and cruise ships, AAA Colorado’s projection said.
AAA warns that the most congested time to travel will be on the afternoons of May 23 and 24 as commuters and holiday travelers hit the roads at the same time. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times during that time frame.
In Colorado, motorists can expect to pay between $2.95 and $3.25 for a gallon of gas throughout the Memorial Day holiday period.
“Per our research, more expensive gas prices may jolt travelers into shortening the distance of their road trip, eating out less, or looking for free activities,” McKinley said. “But gas prices won’t generally stop someone in their tracks if they had already planned on traveling, as many Coloradans have.”
AAA partially bases its Memorial Day travel projections on solid job and income growth in the U.S., along with an elevated consumer mood. It also relies on analysis by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider.
Although gas prices have increased over 2018, other expenses have decreased. Car rentals declined 7 percent, and mid-range hotels decreased between 2 and 3 percent, AAA has calculated.