Slight uptick predicted in Memorial Day travel

Planning on hitting the road for Memorial Day? So are just under one in four Americans. A new survey from Deloitte predicts that 22% of Americans will travel over Memorial Day, up from the 19% who traveled in 2010.

As for the remainder of the summer months, nearly half (45%) of the survey respondents expect to take a trip between June 1 and Labor Day, which is relatively flat compared with those who traveled a year ago (46%). Furthermore, this year nearly one-third (30%) of the expected travelers plan to spend more money on this year’s summer trips than they did last year, while two in five (41%) plan to spend the same amount.

“Although industry data show overall levels of leisure travel are still below levels seen prior to the recession, our latest survey indicates that in 2011, consumers are more willing to spend on summer trips than last year,” said Adam Weissenberg, Deloitte’s U.S. tourism, hospitality and leisure sector leader.

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What might prevent people from traveling?

More than one-quarter (27%) cite lingering financial concerns while 18% point to high gas prices – a number that almost doubled from last year’s survey (10%). Higher fuel prices are not only prompting some would-be travelers to cancel their trips, but are also leading almost six out of 10 Memorial Day weekend travelers to modify or scale down their plans to offset the increased gas expense.

Concerns surrounding air travel also have some consumers altering their vacation plans, though most are not canceling plans altogether. Among the 67% of respondents who say they’ve noticed an increase in airline fees, only 14 percent have changed their summer travel destination or canceled their summer flight altogether. Additionally, more than one-quarter (26%) of survey respondents are looking into alternative means of travel other than flying due to higher airfares, additional airline or government fees, and/or security issues at airports.

“With additional costs hitting consumers in the air and at the pump, leisure travelers have no choice but to allocate additional funds towards transportation,” added Weissenberg. “In turn, they are looking to cut costs in other areas by choosing a vacation spot closer to home or curtailing spending on food and local activities.”

What about you – will you be cutting back or hitting the road this Memorial Day?