Memorial Day Survey: Time to Get Out & About – Heavy Traffic Expected in Several Cities!

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Photo Credit:'s XXLPhoto

As Memorial Day weekend is starting from tomorrow, the American nation is expected to hit the road in large numbers, rejoicing in the improving economy and warm summers.

The Memorial Day, formerly known as the Decoration Day, is observed on the last Monday of May every year, honoring themen and women of U.S. military who laid their lives for the good of the country. The federal holiday became official in 1971 but it was introduced long before that time. The ceremony originated in the years following the Civil War. On this day, many Americans visit memorials and cemeteries, or participate in the parades. Apart from paying tributes to the martyrs, the Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer, unofficially.

Memorial Day down the memory lane!

Over the decades, the Memorial Day has become less formal and less related to the remembrance of military personnel from the civil war era. Now it incorporates respect for all the people who ever died serving in our military. But the early observance of the day was all about decorating the graves with flags and flowers and reciting prayers.

It is difficult to say where the tradition actually started because most communities inaugurated the gatherings on their own. However, Waterloo, New York, was declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day by the federal government in 1966. The reason being, it hosted a community-wide event every year since 1866 during which businesses closed and residents observed solemn traditions of visiting and decorating the graves of the fallen heroes. Hence, it was originally known as the Decoration Day.

For decades the Memorial Day had continued to be held on May 30, the date that was selected for the first Decoration Day. The Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, establishing Memorial Day as the last Monday of May, making it a three-day weekend for the federal employees. With that law in action, it also became a federal holiday.

Memorial Day Today!

Currently, Memorial Day parades are held across the country in several towns and cities of America. They are not only observed by the public but also incorporate people from veterans’ organizations and military personnel. The main cities where these parades take place are Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York. As it is also considered the starting point of summer, many people throw barbeque parties and arrange family gatherings and picnics to relax over the weekend. Many other cultural and sports events are held too. The fashion conscious still see it as an acceptable practice to wear white clothes, particularly, white shoes, from Memorial Day until the Labor Day in September.

As all of the businesses and educational institutes are closed, public transit systems also run on an irregular schedule. Most people now see Memorial Day weekend as a golden chance to visit family and distant relatives or to go on vacations with them.

Memorial Day Survey 2014

The auto club AAA has forecasted an estimate of 36.1 million people traveling 50 miles or more over the holidays. If the prediction holds true, it would be the largest number of people traveling during the Memorial Day weekend since 2005. While majority of the people are expected to fly or enjoy a cruise or train ride, a huge amount of people are going to drive to their vacation spots, according to the report.

In an annual survey, AAA found that extreme cold winters that pretty much paralyzed the whole nation have led to a strong case of cabin fever among people who just want to get out and about.“Thoughts of historic cold are still fresh in the minds of Americans in many parts of the country,” commented AAA’s Chief Operating Officer, Marshall Doney. “The winter blues appear to have given Americans the travel bug.”

Another major incentive is the rise in disposable income and better employment opportunities. As financial improvement occurs on an individual level, Americans find themselves making plans to head out into the sun and enjoy the holidays. The lowering of gas prices is also good news aslast year, it averaged around$3.63. Therefore, out of all the people traveling this weekend, 31.8 million are expected to drive. This increases the percentage up to 1.3% from last year’s 31.4 million.

However, the report also reveals more expenses at the entryways, hotels, and car rentals. According to the forecast, hotel rooms are expected to charge $3 more per night from last year which is at an average of $169 a night. The survey shared some significant data that the number of people traveling has been rising steadily since 2011. In 2005, 44 million people went on holidays making it the busiest travel weekend so far.

A list of top travel destinations published by reveals that more bookings have been made for Las Vegas than any other destination. Las Vegas has secured the top title in six out of the twelve years published its Memorial Day travel survey. Brian Ek, the website’s travel editor, also referred to the brutally cold spring weather across the United States as the biggest reason why most people are choosing beach destinations.

According to the bookings made through, here are the top ten holiday travel destinations for 2014:

  • Las Vegas
  • San Diego
  • Orlando
  • New York City
  • Orange County, California
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Miami
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco
  • Atlanta

As Las Vegas again becomes the No. 1 holiday spot for the Memorial Day, many people would be driving to traditionally kickoff their summer travel season. Just a year ago, it was New York which claimed the top position. According to the survey, Florida should see about 1.8 million travelers over the holiday weekend.

Let us know where you are traveling to spend your holidays tomorrow – and how? We are equally excited for the weekend!

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.