The American Automobile Association released its holiday forecast on Tuesday, showing that 1.8 million Illinoisans plan to travel for the Memorial Day holiday.
That’s just under pre-pandemic levels of 2 million in 2019 and 57% higher than 2020.
AAA spokeswoman Molly Hart cites vaccinations and eagerness to “get out” as the main reasons for the return of travelers.
Some of the popular destinations include Orlando, Colorado Springs, Nashville, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach.
The boost in travel comes as gas prices climb, and supply isn’t keeping up with demand.
“Last year, gas prices were so low. Now, people are looking at the gas prices today and it feels like a sticker shock,” said Hart. “There is a likelihood that gas prices will go up a bit more.”
Hart said the national average price of gasoline is approaching averages not seen since 2014.
As of Tuesday, Gasbuddy.com listed Illinois as having the highest averages in the Midwest.
On Tuesday afternoon, the national average of gas was at $2.97 while Illinois stood at $3.20.
But it’s not stopping travelers with cabin fever from booking.
Airbnb is reporting a 60% increase in searches for destinations in rural Illinois since March, when compared to 2019.
Airbnb Senior Communications Manager Sam Randall said destinations like Woodstock and Quincy, Illinois, were starting to show popularity.
“People are looking for areas where they can have a great view or backyard,” said Randall. “The typical rural host has earned $7,500 since the pandemic started.”