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More travelers to hit the road for Memorial Day

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Memorial Day travel is expected to increase this year, thanks to healthier economic conditions, according to a report released Thursday by motorist group AAA.

A total of 32.1 million American are planning to travel, a 5.4% increase from last year. They'll spend an average of $809 on their holiday trip, 1.1% less than last year.

"While the economy continues to be rocked by waves of occasional uncertainty, improved economic performance from one year ago should cause more Americans to take vacation this Memorial Day holiday weekend," Glen MacDonell, director of AAA travel services, said in a prepared statement.

AAA travel agents have been reporting double-digit spikes in the percentage of travelers making advanced bookings for tours, cruises and hotels, he added.

The report said 87% of travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations, a 5.8% jump from last year -- thanks in part to gas prices that AA expects to stay under $3 per gallon, on average.

While airfares are unchanged from a year ago, air travel is expected to rise 2.4% to 2.14 million. Another 2 million Americans will travel by rail, buses or watercraft.

Vacationers staying in hotels will get a slight price break: Hotel rates are 1% to 4% lower than last year, AAA found, with travelers spending an average of $99 to $142 per night.  To top of page

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