May 25, 2012 at 8:08 am
ST. CLOUD, MN (KNSI) - Its Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kick-off to the summer travel season and Triple-A Minnesota says nationally, millions of Americans will be traveling this weekend.
Spokesperson Gail Weinholzer says a 1.2-percent increase in Memorial Day travel is expected this year from 2011.
"We expect just about thirty-five million Americans to travel at least fifty miles and thirty-one million of those Americans will be traveling in their personal automobiles," Weinholzer said
Gas prices are the predominant reason for the increase in Memorial Day travel.
"January, February, and March had some pretty negative gas price news," Weinholzer said. She added, "But since we've had a break in April and May I think people have decided they want to get out and enjoy that vacation and if they have to make allowances in other parts of their budget they are willing to do that, but they just want to get out and travel."
Weinholzer says the statewide average price for gas in Minnesota is $3.59 a gallon, down from the high-water mark in April and twenty cents lower than Memorial Day 2011.
When you hit the road, Weinholzer warns there are a few elements of travel to keep in mind, namely highway projects.
"It is important to keep in mind that there will be road construction. It is that time of year across not only Minnesota but across they upper Midwest," Weinholzer said. "People really need to make sure they allocate enough time, they slow down, they pay attention, they drive sober and they buckle up."
According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be just less than 650 miles. The Memorial Day holiday travel period began Thursday and runs through Monday.