Travel picks up for Memorial Day weekend

Chicago gas highest in nation
May 22, 2009 (CHICAGO) The bottom line is there are fewer people flying and only slightly more people driving. Air travel is expected to be at it's lowest level since 2002. Gas prices are a bit higher than average right now, but $1.50 less than last year at Memorial Day.

"Going to Michigan. Just with the family hanging out. Boating, having a good time. That's about it," said Gina Grossmann.

More information is available from ABC7 Chicago about how to take a

"Of course, Chicago. This is the best place to visit!" Ashok Parida said.

"[I'm] going to my family's house. Going to barbecue out there, have a good time out there. We ain't going out of town with the gas prices going up, up, up," said Ray Scott, who's got a two hour drive to the lake house.

Scott got to the pump just in time- right before attendants at a South Loop gas station upped the price slightly to $2.79 a gallon.

The average cost of gasoline is $2.62 a gallon in Chicago, which is the highest in the nation.

In Illinois, the average cost is $2.51/gallon. Across the nation, the average is $2.36.

With one out of every 10 Americans traveling this weekend, travel is up 1.5-percent from 2008, according to AAA. Seven-percent of those people who will travel for the long weekend will fly. About 83-percent will drive.

Staying at home has become an attractive option for many Chicago area residents.

"A holiday weekend where my wife and kids were coming down here to Chinatown. We have never been down there. Just start hanging out," said Dan Flynn.

"It's been tough. People are just kind of rebounding from when it was $4 (a gallon) and then looking an seeing a possibility of it still going like that again, I guess," said Claire Westley, who is staying in town for the holiday. "Always do on Memorial Day. Have a great picnic and enjoying family."

"I have a wedding to go to on Sunday and probably hang out at home," said Frank Chiamprone.

The recession has opened the door to bargains for many travelers, according to some experts, who say people are getting deals on hotels and airfare.

"We're seeing more and more people travel because gas prices are a lot cheaper than they were last year. And people are also finding some great travel deals out there, which is probably the result of the recession. Rental car rates are down, hotel rates are down, and airfares are down from last year," said Beth Mosher, AAA spokesperson

AAA says the recession should also help stabilize gas prices this summer because in general people have been using less gas.