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More will travel this Memorial Day

Memorial Day will be celebrated on Monday, May 26. The holiday is considered the traditional beginning for the summer vacation season and AAA is predicting that more Americans will be traveling this holiday weekend than in 2013.

Some of those are going to be traveling to Mount Magazine State Park, which is located 19 miles south of Paris. Park officials said Monday that vacancies at the lodge, cabins and 19 camp grounds at the park are few and far between starting Friday and continuing through Memorial Day. As of Monday, there was a single two-bedroom cabin available Friday and two on Sunday. The 67-room lodge and the camp grounds are completely booked.

AAA Travel projects 36.1 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year. Kicking off the summer driving season, more than eight in 10 travelers will be driving to their destinations.

The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 22 to Monday, May 26.

“As we enter into the summer travel season with warmer temperatures and tulips in bloom, thoughts of historic cold are still fresh in the minds of Americans in many parts of the country,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Chief Operating Officer. “The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug and a case of cruise cabin fever as travel for the holiday is expected to hit a new post-recession high.”

In addition to seasonal rising temperatures, improvements in several key economic factors are driving the expectation for more holiday travelers this year.

“As the economy continues to improve at a slow and steady pace, consumer spending, disposable income, consumer confidence and the employment outlook are trending up which is welcomed news for the travel industry,” Doney said.

AAA expects that most drivers will pay lower gas prices by Memorial Day weekend due to rising supplies. AAA expects holiday gas prices to be relatively similar or even slightly less than last year’s national Memorial Day average of $3.63 per gallon, though unexpected developments such as refinery problems or international events could result in higher costs.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

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