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Record Travel Projected This Memorial Day Weekend,
AAA Reports; Gas Cheaper This Year,
But Meals and Lodging More Expensive

SAN FRANCISCO--May 21, 1998--Northern Californians will pack cars with beach chairs and sunscreen as they head for the sea and sunshine this Memorial Day weekend, AAA reported today.

"Record numbers of Americans are expected to travel this Memorial Day holiday," said AAA spokesman Paul Moreno. "Spurred by a strong economy and gas prices lower than last year, people are anxious to kick off the travel season."

AAA projects 32.1 million Americans will travel over the long holiday weekend - about 1 percent more than the record set last year. With four out of five travelers going by auto, 10 percent of the nation's population will drive at least 200 miles this weekend.

Motorists will find gas prices about 13 cents a gallon cheaper than last May, with the Northern California average at $1.30 for a self-serve gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, according to AAA's May survey.

Despite lower gas prices, the average costs of meals and lodging will be $19 per day more expensive than last year for a family of four, according to AAA's annual vacation cost survey.

A family of two adults and two children traveling in California can expect to pay $129 for meals and $132 for lodging per day. The national averages are $108 for meals (up $4 from last year) and $110 for lodging (up $15), according to AAA.

Where are travelers headed?

Northern Californians are flocking to the state's central and northern coasts, and to Southern California beach cities and theme parks, according to AAA. Las Vegas is also a popular destination, as well as the historic gold rush towns along Highway 49.

For travelers taking extended vacations, AAA reports top destinations are Hawaii, the Grand Canyon and Mexico. Three- and four-day cruises from Los Angeles to Mexico are also popular.

Although summer is just weeks away, late-season snow storms have given four California ski resorts extended seasons. Call the AAA Snow Report Hot Line at 415/864-6440 for more information.

Tips for auto travelers
Take a break every two hours or 100 miles of driving to avoid fatigue.

Schedule meal stops to avoid commute traffic and peak dining times.

Check your vehicle's fluid levels before hitting the road. Make sure the tires and spare are in good condition and properly inflated.

Plan your route. Keep a map handy.

Carry emergency items in your car, including a flashlight with fresh batteries, jumper cables, and flares or a reflective triangle.

Make certain everyone is properly secured in a seat belt or child safety seat. Children under age 12 should always ride in the back seat.

Consider traveling with a cellular phone for emergencies.

Tips for air travelers 
Airport parking lots will fill quickly, so arrange for a ride or take public transportation to the airport.

Carry identification for check-in. Call airlines to reconfirm flights at least 24 to 48 hours in advance, and ask about carry-on baggage limits.

Arrive at the airport at least one hour before departure to allow more time for parking, check-in and boarding. For  international flights, arrive two hours before departure.


Established more than 90 years ago, the AAA affiliate of Northern California, Nevada and Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance and financial services. It is the second largest regional affiliate of the national AAA organization.

California State Automobile Assoc.
Paul Moreno, 415/565-7869

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