Cheap gas, lower airfares will spike summer travel

Charisse Jones and Nathan Bomey
Holiday travel outlook

More Americans appear poised to kiss the "staycation" goodbye this summer.

With the coming of the Memorial Day holiday, more vacationers are likely to head out of town to take advantage of cheap gas, falling airfares and strong employment. After vacations being stuck at home, there are bigger incentives to hit the road.

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"The 'staycation' is out, the road trip is in — and for good reason," says analyst Patrick DeHaan of, the gasoline-price tracking web site.

BraunS | Getty Images

AAA is projecting that 35 million people will travel this Memorial Day weekend — about 700,000 more than last year. And with gasoline prices at their lowest level for this time of year since 2005, cheap gas is fueling the rush.

Americans have already saved more than $18 billion on gas this year, compared to the same period in 2015, AAA spokeswoman Julie Hall said. GasBuddy is projecting a 2.2% increase in road-trippers this summer, with national prices averaging $2.29 per gallon on Memorial Day and $2.15 per gallon from June through August. And a GasBuddy survey says that more than 56% of those driving to their vacation destinations will travel at least 400 miles round trip,

Cheaper fuel is also contributing to lower air fares. Travel booking site Orbitzsays the average plane ticket to its top ten destinations costs 10% less this summer than it did last year.

"We're definitely projecting a strong travel season," Hall said. "People have extra income in their pocket, so they're looking to spend that on travel."

Of the 75% of Americans that Orbitz expects to travel this summer, eight out of 10 will stay stateside.