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Camping is an affordable alternative to hotel rooms. The average site fee for a family of four is about $22 a night  

Clogged highways, airways predicted for Memorial Day weekend

May 26, 2000
Web posted at: 11:24 a.m. EDT (1524 GMT)

(CNN) -- If you thought the roads and airports were crowded last Memorial Day weekend, just wait until you take off for your destination this year.

A record number of travelers is expected to take to the United States' roads and skies over the holiday weekend, marking the 10th consecutive year that travel has increased, according to AAA spokesman Jerry Cheske.

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    The Air Transport Association predicts 13.4 million people will fly between Wednesday, May 24, and Tuesday, May 30. The busiest days are expected to be Friday and Monday, with more than 2 million passengers each of those days.

    Heavy traffic

    Road travel is surging, too. Cheske says 34.4 million Americans are expected to travel 100 miles (161 kilometers) or more from home. That's up 3 percent from last Memorial Day weekend, and 31 percent from 1991, according to the automobile association.

    Automobiles are expected to be the most heavily used mode of transportation. More than 28 million people are expected to travel by cars, light trucks or recreational vehicles, AAA figures show.

    They're paying more for gas, too. Prices are averaging about $1.50 -- up 35 cents from last year.

    Not all expenses are spiking, though. For only the fourth time in 50 years, the costs of lodging and meals aren't expected to rise this summer, the AAA says. A family of four will pay an average of $213 a day for food and a place to stay.

    According to AAA spokesman Jerry Cheske, road travel is up 3 percent from last Memorial Day weekend  

    Where is everybody going? Here are the results of a survey by the Travel Industry Association of America:

    • 79 percent of travelers say they're heading to the beach
    • 74 percent say they'll visit friends and relatives
    • 69 percent say they'll visit a city
    • 39 percent say they'll go to a theme park

    Travel on the cheap

    If you haven't scheduled a summer vacation, and you're up for some last-minute leisure plans, there are some inexpensive options.

    For only the fourth time in 50 years the cost of lodging and meals has not increased, according to AAA  

    Forget hotel rooms and pitch a tent. The average camping site fee for a family of four is about $22 a night. No, they won't leave a light on for you, but at prices like that you can bring your own illumination.

    Go see a baseball game. Average seats in a stadium go for $11 to $15. Add hotdogs and drinks, and a trip to see your favorite sluggers will cost a family of four under $100.

    And, hold on to your insect spray: Believe it or not, it's already time to start thinking about winter vacation.

    "If you're going to the Caribbean at over Christmastime," says travel agent Nancy Jaeger, "you better have everything done by July."

    CNN Travel Now Correspondent Chris Wolfe contributed to this report.

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