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Millions Take To Roads, Skies For Memorial Day Weekend Vacations

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Garden State Parkway (Credit: AP)

Garden State Parkway (Credit: AP)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite the rising costs of gasoline and airfare, millions of Americans are planning to hit the road this holiday weekend.

Friday was getaway day for the Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer.

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A survey from AAA shows nearly 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this weekend, and about 31 million will do so by car — even though prices are up for hotels, airfare, rental cars and gas.

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Robert Sinclair Jr. with AAA New York, said the survey shows people think they can travel farther for less.

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“People are going to be traveling a greater distance but spending less money and it’s hard to imagine how that’s going to happen,” said Sinclair. “It could be that they’re going to be eating at cheaper restaurants perhaps and staying at cheaper hotels.”

According to AAA’s numbers, the staycation isn’t in the cards this year.

Many feel they still have to travel this weekend despite the fact that hotels cost more, as do car rentals and, of course, gasoline.

“You do what you’ve got to do, and then you mike adjustments, like I’ll stay with friends or family, downsize on things,” traveler Athena Haniotis told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

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“For Americans, a trip is pretty much sacrosanct. We had a hard winter, and perhaps we’re seeing a build-up and people just want to take a trip,” said Sinclair.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it expects to see nearly 5 million travelers this holiday weekend.

Officials said about 3.4 million drivers will be using bridges and tunnels during the four-day weekend and about 1.4 million passengers will pass through the area’s airports.

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According to one new survey from Tripadvisor.com, at least 34 percent of New York City-area residents will be traveling someplace this weekend.

Despite the big jump in ticket prices, air travel is seeing an 11 percent increase this weekend.

“We have to, you know?” Bronx resident Edward DeLeon said while waiting for his flight at JFK Airport. “That’s the only way we can get a little vacation, but anyway, you’ve still got to do it.”

AAA said the average trip this weekend will cost nearly $700, but for Warwick resident Jack Berkowitz and his family, it’ll be a bit more.

“Hotel, gas, meals – I think at least $1,000,” he said.

State police in New York and Connecticut will also be cracking down on drunk drivers and seat belt law violators this holiday weekend.

The mass exodus came on a day that a new survey was released showing that nearly 20 percent of Americans couldn’t pass a driving knowledge test.

What are you doing for Memorial Day? Let us know in our comments section.

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