AAA: South Dakotans set to drive Memorial Day weekend

The first three-day weekend of the summer has nearly arrived and according to AAA, South Dakotans will be “driving” their way into summer. The Memorial Day holiday commemorates those who have died in service to our country, while also serving as the unofficial kickoff of the summer season.

According to AAA South Dakota’s Memorial Day travel forecast, nearly 43 million Americans are expected to travel over Memorial Day. This number reflects a 3.6% increase from last Memorial Day.

“The overall domestic economic picture continues to improve,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “This is giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

Three trends from AAA’s 2019 Memorial Day forecast for South Dakotans include:

  1. Road trips rule

According to an AAA survey, 120,000 South Dakotans – plan to drive to their destination, which is the most on record for the holiday. The statewide average for self-serve regular in South Dakota has held steady the last 30 days to $2.77 per gallon today, the same price year over year.

2. Air travel experiences lift

6,800 South Dakotans plan to fly to their Memorial Day destination, an increase of 6.6% from last year. AAA attributes this increase to travelers who are not deterred by airfare prices and are limited on time.

3. Travelers to see relief in lower hotel and car rental costs – According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental rates have declined 7% compared with last year, with and daily rate average of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2% and 3% cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated properties.