Massachusetts residents will travel to a variety of vacation destinations this Labor Day holiday weekend, but Cape Cod and the Islands top the list. That’s according to a AAA Northeast web survey of some 437 Bay State travelers. Boston and the Berkshires remain popular destinations, and almost 40 percent of Massachusetts residents surveyed report they will travel 100 to 500 miles from home, with Maine the top out-of-state destination, followed by New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Florida.
The car is king when it comes to Labor Day excursions with 85 percent of Bay State residents traveling getting behind the wheel—spurred on, in part, by falling gas prices that are forecast to drop even lower this fall thanks to reduced demand for gasoline and moderately priced crude.
“In our AAA survey, less than 8 percent of respondents said gasoline prices would impact their ability to travel,” says Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “Lower prices at the pump could also spur last-minute travel and a significant amount of day tripping—especially if there’s a sunny forecast.”
Lindsey Schmid, director of marketing for 1Berkshire, Berkshire County’s official economic development organization and tourism council, said this year’s summer travel season in Massachusetts got off to a rainy start, but surged once the skies cleared. She expects the pace to continue this holiday weekend with artists like Gladys Knight, Reba McEntire and Melissa Etheridge performing at Tanglewood Music Center, along with lower prices for lodging.
“At this time of year, you’re seeing less two- and three-night occupancy minimums and the pricing is going for less,” says Schmid. “The farmers’ market continues through October, the museum exhibits are continuing and not ending in mid-August and people are realizing there’s a lot to do beyond July through the end of August. In general, we’re seeing the beginning of the summer sooner and summer ending later.”
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline stands at $2.60 per gallon, a decrease of three cents since last week and 24 cents lower than this time last year. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.