For the first time in six years, fewer Americans will hit the roads and the airports for a Memorial Day weekend getaway, according to AAA Arizona.
Soaring pump prices, airfares, rental car rates and hotel tabs plus a weakened economy have squashed early summer vacation plans for many, said Linda Gorman, AAA Arizona spokeswoman.
“It’s a small decrease (from Memorial Day 2007),” Gorman said, but it could be an omen of how the summer travel season will shape up.
If gas prices continue to climb, and hotels, airlines and rental car companies don’t try to compensate by offering super deals, it could be a tough time for the U.S. tourism industry, she said.
In surveying Americans on Memorial Day plans, AAA found would-be vacationers in the western United States are more likely to travel despite budget woes, Gorman said.
So don’t look for noticeable less traffic on the local roads or at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Overall AAA estimates that 12 percent of Americans will celebrate Memorial Day away from home. Most, 83 percent, will get to their holiday destination by car, and 11 percent will travel by plane. The rest will use a bus, train or other mode of transportation.