Memorial Day road trip plans focus on spending, safety and…Justin Bieber?

When we think of what we need for a road trip, a common list unfolds. A cooler, ice, beverages, snacks, maps and pillows are all normal items we might bring along. We’ll fill up with gas and head out on the highway to get away, even if just for the Memorial Day road trip weekend. This year, some of those items will cost a bit more, some a bit less and there are some new things we might want to consider bringing along.

More than 30 million people nationwide will travel more than 50 miles during Memorial Day weekend, defined as the period from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30 says AAA, an increase of 0.2 percent.

“In 2010, Memorial Day travel experienced a gain of more than 14 percent,” AAA-Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai told the Washington Post. “Many travelers have told us they’ll compensate for higher fuel costs by cutting back in other areas of spending.”

They’ll pay more too, with gas running just a bit less than $4.00 per gallon, compared to $2.85 this time last year reports TulsaWorld. But while the high price of gas does not appear to be stopping road trip plans, travelers are looking at expenses carefully, saving where they can.

“You’ll see people eating sandwiches out of the cooler instead of going into a restaurant,” Susanne Pelt, spokeswoman for the South of the Border roadside attraction in South Carolina told

In fact, new ways to save money traveling have been gaining in popularity as more people are expected to travel for the Memorial Day holiday than have since the Great Recession. That means more cars on the road, and more opportunities for motor vehicle accidents during what is already a time when safety concerns prompt law enforcement officials to begin a focus on Click it Or Ticket campaigns, handing out traffic citations for those not using seat belts.

A $200 fine does not exactly fit in with the whole money-saving focus but neither does a traffic accident and ignoring seat belt laws are not the only concern. Avoiding texting while driving is a cause that has even teen sensation Justin Bieber teaming up with PhoneGuard, a system that disables texting while driving.

“It is tragic that almost on a daily basis there are reports of deaths and severe injuries caused by drivers who are texting and driving,” Bieber said in a statement. “We need to change the attitudes in our society toward texting and driving and I am making it one of my personal goals to make this happen.”

He’s not alone in his concern either. The Associated Press reports that Texting and Driving has reached epidemic proportions killing one person every 11 minutes in the United States making it four times more dangerous then drinking and driving.

Flickr photo by richardmasoner