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Memorial Day 2013 Travel Forecast: Fewer Crowds, Better Deals

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Starting tomorrow, 34.8 million travelers will hit the road for a Memorial Day weekend vacation, according to AAA Memorial Day Travel Forecast. This year the forecast shows that overall holiday travel has decreased by .9 percent, though automobile travel has increased slightly from 31.1 million to 31.2 million, representing approximately 89 percent of all travelers. Air travel has also decreased by 8 percent, down 2.3 million from 2.5 million last year. Overall travel spending has decreased 6 percent to $659 a trip. However, on average those who travel are going farther: the average journey is 690 miles, up from 642 last year.

Gas prices are rising in the Midwest and California, with the nationwide average around $3.66 per gallon. But the high gas prices aren’t keeping travelers at home. According to a survey by TripAdvisor, only 13 percent of travelers will be impacted by high gas prices. The survey also found that 30 percent of those who responded are planning to travel this weekend and 86 percent are planning to travel for leisure trip this summer.

So where are they traveling? According to Orbitz, this year’s 10 hottest destinations are Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Cancun, Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego, London and New Orleans. Kayak also noted some growing trends with an 20 percent or more increase in flight searches to Nashville, Denver, Austin and Washington, D.C.

That’s where people are traveling, so where can you find a deal.

With Orbitz, until May 26, 2013, you can still find Memorial Day savings of 15 percent off at qualifying hotels. Click here to book the Long Weekend promotion. Remember promo code SUNFUN15.

Check out Hotwire, which is offering last-minute travelers big savings in places like the Big Apple (nearly 60 percent) for stays this holiday weekend. Although traveling to big hubs like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago can be expensive, there are specific times when rates for these destinations are at their highest – weekdays. Business travelers leave and as a result, hotels look to fill rooms by offering steeply discounted prices. In New York, a 5-star hotel room in the Downtown is just $193 a night. Find, these 11-hour deals on Hotwire all weekend long.

For property-wide summer savings, check out the Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. The chain is offering a 20 percent discount for summer travel. Rates vary by property but can be as low as $140 BEFORE the discount. You can book starting May 16, for travel from May 31 and September 1, 2013. Book on Swissôtel’s website

In Mexico, the Villa Group Resorts & Spas are enticing you to book those last-minute flights to Mexico. Their promotion includes Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta for rates starting at $118,  round-trip flight packages to Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto for $836 per person and up to 25 percent off and 2 kids free at Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Spa Los Cabos. Call 888 844-8169 and use MEMDAY13 to book.

You can go out to the country at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa in Pennsylvania. On the property, families will have access to an indoor spring-fed swimming pool, an award-winning golf course, plus kids’ golf programs, nature trails for hiking and biking, fly fishing, volleyball, tennis, scavenger hunts, cooking classes, and more. Rates start at $299 a night, but the longer you stay the more you save. You’ll get 10 percent off with a one-night minimum, 20 percent off with a two-night minimum and 30 percent off with a three-night minimum. Click here to book.

In Delray Beach, Florida, The Seagate Hotel & Spa has a Memorial Day package with rates as low as $199 a night (down from $229 per night). In addition, guests get a $25 resort credit and valet parking. The 154 room property has a private beach and country clubs, a spa, championship golf courses, Har-Tru tennis courts, a full-service clubhouse, and a variety of water sport activities. The Memorial Day package is valid Thursday May 23 through Monday the 27. Visit the Seagate Hotel online to book.

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By Lily J. Kosner for