Travelers hit road, skies for Memorial Day

May 27, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Despite higher gas prices and higher airfare, holiday travel is up this year, so the roads are going to be busy. The airports are going to be crowded as well, as air travel is up about 11 percent nationwide this year, more than a million passengers are expected to go through Chicago's two airports during Memorial Day weekend.

Travelers at O'Hare Friday said they found good deals.

"I got my ticket, like, three weeks ago, and my ticket was real reasonable, believe it or not. I mean, really, really reasonable. I couldn't drive there and back for the price that I got my ticket for," said Frances Metcalf.

Friday will be the busiest travel day, with almost 200,000 passengers at O'Hare International Airport Friday alone. You would think that fewer people would be flying because AAA says an average flight is 14 percent more expensive this year.

Same goes for gas. In Chicago, the average cost of gas per gallon is $4.23. Last year, it was only $3.01 a gallon. The Illinois average is $4.06, and the national average is $3.81 a gallon.

And despite high gas prices road travel is up slightly, with 1.5 million people in Illinois expected to travel more than 50 miles away from their homes.

"Distribution problems, refinery problems, and so all of those have compounded on Illinois gas prices. We've been hit the hardest," said Beth Moser, AAA.

Sara Mullin and her son, Eric, are driving one car to Ohio this weekend for some wedding planning. Sara's fiance is driving separately.

"Over $100. I have a truck. The fiance went already yesterday, and he'll probably spend a good $100, too, each way," said Mullin.

The Illinois Tollway is expecting 7 million vehicles will travel the tollway system this weekend. And there's a safety reminder, a big push from AAA and others to not text and drive.

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