Traveling by car for Memorial Day? You’re not alone

Memorial Day weekend will be one of tremendous travel, as a new survey indicates most will be driving.

The long Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, filled with cookouts, beach visits, and family get-together. The last day in May is also the launch to the travel season, where vacation-starved Americans take to the air and road. For the most part, at least to start the summer off, getaway artists will be using the streets as their means to an exit, a newly released survey suggests.

Of the nearly 40% of Americans expecting to travel over the three-day end of May holiday, almost 80% plan on driving, according to a recent poll conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of online travel information firm Travelocity.

The same is true for parents, many of whom often try to steer clear of long-distance road trips due to the difficulties of traveling with younger passengers. Of the parents with young children responding in the poll, 75% said that they're more likely to travel this Memorial Day than they were last year. 

The affordability of gas has fueled many road trippers' tire desires. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest numbers, the national average for gasoline prices is $2.24. That's down nearly 45 cents from year-ago levels.

How to beat the traffic

Besides family members, music perhaps makes for the best traveling companion, whether the tunes are pumping out of the car's stereo speakers or in passengers' earbuds. However, the catchiest tunes in the world don't make the ride whiz by when you're stuck in traffic. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can get an upper hand on your summer kickoff traveling competition. For example, your local morning news should have the most up-to-the-minute traffic information on what conditions are like on a real-time basis. In fact, prior to departing, your local news should have some tips on what you need to know to avoid getting caught in those dreaded traffic jams. Additionally, there are lots of mobile applications, like INRIX, that you can download to your smart phone that will help keep you in the fast lane.

While Memorial Day travel has become practically a nationwide custom, nearly as quintessential as cookouts have come to be, most Americans plan getaways because they feel like they need them to recharge their batteries. Over 95% of Americans, in a poll done by Globus, said they deserve vacation time. Additionally, approximately 9 in 10 said they wished they vacationed more frequently.

Steve Born, Vice President of Marketing for Globus, said vacations aren't simply for recreational purposes; they're as fundamental to healthy living as food and water.

"If there's any question that travel is an important priority in our lives, our study reveals the answer: Vacations are important," Born explained. "[They're] more important than many other life experiences. In fact, people ages 55 and over told us that if they could do things differently in life, nearly half (47%) would travel more versus spending more time with family (31%), and making more 'me' time (20%)."

Over 80% indicated traveling makes them feel happier and 70% felt the experiences of traveling improved their character.