Memorial Day Kicks Off 2012 Summer Travel Season

Budget constraints push travelers toward short drives, all-inclusive trips

Phoenix, Ariz., May 15, 2012. Memorial Day is just around the corner, and according to AAA, Arizonans are expected to kick off the unofficial start of summer in robust fashion.

According to AAA, more than 707,000 Arizonans are projected to travel 50 or more miles from home over Memorial Day weekend. Nationwide, nearly 34.8 million Americans will travel. These figures are up from last year, with a state and nationwide increase of 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

“Memorial Day travel has returned to stability following five consecutive years of fewer travelers taking to the roads and skies,” said Amy Moreno, director of travel services for AAA Arizona. “Despite this, travelers continue to face budget crunches that are forcing them to get creative with their travel dollars and trip spending.

Top trends from AAA’s 2012 Memorial Day forecast among Arizonans include:

  • Road trips remain dominant. More than 620,000 Arizonans — or almost nine out of 10 holiday travelers — plan to drive to their destination, which represents an increase of 1.7 percent from last year. With the price of fuel on par with year-ago averages, the majority of intended travelers (53 percent) said the cost of fuel would not impact their travel plans.
  • Trip distance, spending drops significantly. The average distance traveled by Arizonans is expected to be nearly 680 miles, while median spending is expected to be just over $650 dollars. Both trip distance and spending are nearly half of last year’s averages. The considerable drops in these categories can in large part be attributed to the 5 percent decline expected in air travel as well as travelers on reduced budgets staying closer to home.
  • Popularity of cost-inclusive vacations emerges. As Arizonans seek ways to economize travel budgets, many are turning to value-added travel options, which provide an effective way to budget and pay for vacation costs up front. AAA Travelbookings among three partners that offer inclusive options are up by an average of 15 percent year to date.

AAA offers a variety of mobile travel resources including free apps for iPhone and Android users. AAA apps use GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby member discounts, summon roadside assistance, find current gas prices and more. Travelers can learn more about these resources at

Research for Memorial Day travel projections are derived from IHS Global Insight, which conducts special research for AAA. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as trips that include travel of 50 miles or more during the five day period from Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.