An estimated 34.8 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles during the Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Doug Kerr/flickr)
By Nick Gale
CHICAGO - It’s a busy travel day across the state, but not as busy as last year.
AAA Travel projects 34.8 million Americans nationwide 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.
In Illinois, 1.8 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a .9 percent decrease from 2012. Of those travelers, just over 1.6 million will be driving and just over 88,000 will be flying to their destination.
Those traveling by car will be paying a bit more for gas. Gas prices across Illinois are on average $4.06, up from $3.87 in 2012. A survey of intended travelers found that gasoline prices would have no impact on plans for 62 percent of travelers. Of the remaining 38 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, 27 percent plan to economize in other areas. Eight percent are planning to take a shorter trip and three percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation.
Nationwide, holiday air travel is expected to decrease by eight percent over last year but in Chicago passenger numbers are up. The Chicago Department of Aviation expects more than 250,000 passengers to filter through O'Hare International Airport today (Friday) for the holiday weekend. They are anticipating a 2 percent increase in the number of O'Hare passengers for the five day travel period and a 3 percent increase at Midway International Airport.