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Get Ready for a Busy Summer Travel Season

AAA is out with its annual summer travel forecast, and one word comes to mind: Busy.

First, let’s start with Memorial Day, which is just a few days away. AAA says “the number of Americans traveling on vacation this Memorial Day holiday weekend will increase 5.4 percent from 2009 with approximately 32.1 million travelers taking a trip away from home. Last year, 30.5 million Americans traveled during the same period.”

Of those 32 million, 28 million will be traveling by road. Memorial Day is always a big driving holiday, as folks head off for that first weekend at the beach or in the mountains. Gasoline isn’t expected to top $3.00 nationally, which is good, but prices are roughly $0.30 higher than last year.

AAA says the rocky economy and uncertainty over the gulf oil spill could affect travel for some, but overall travel trends should be positive.

For the summer as a whole, AAA is forecasting an increase in international travel compared to last year. “AAA expects 25.1 million Americans will be travelling internationally this summer, an increase of 2.6 percent over the 24.5 million who were estimated to have traveled overseas last summer.”

According to AAA, “China and India are expected to see the largest increases in travel from the U.S. this summer, with China expected to see a 13.4 percent increase (573,000 American travelers) and India up 13.1 percent (227,000 American travelers). Travel to Canada and Mexico this summer is expected to be similar to last year, with Canada expecting to see a slight drop of 0.8 percent (5 million American travelers) and Mexico likely increasing by 1.3 percent (5.8 million American travelers).”

Europe, too, will see a big boost, with bookings up 5 percent overall. France, Ireland, Italy, and Germany are all expected to be popular destinations this year.

So, that’s what AAA has to say, but what about you? Where are you heading this summer?

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