Receding gas prices and an upward-trending economy are encouraging more travel this Memorial Day weekend, says Marie Dodds, spokeswoman for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Dodds says Memorial Day weekend travelers typically make plans in advance and stick to them. This year, travel in the Pacific Northwest is expected to be up a slight .2 percent over 2010 figures, mirroring the national trend. Last year, travel was up 14 percent.

The automobile advocacy agency had conducted its survey a month ago, Dodds says, when fuel prices were on the rise. Gas prices statewide have since fallen 3.5 cents, she says, which could attract more motorists onto Oregon's highways.

'I would expect that maybe we'll see some folks at the last minute take a trip who may not have planned to take trip,' Dodds says.

Though most travelers - an estimated nine out of 10 - do so by automobile, but a surprising trend this year has been the resurgence in air travel. In fact, about 620,000 air travelers in AAA's Pacific region are expected are expected to take to the skies this weekend, an increase of 11 percent from 2010.

'The biggest surprise is that air travel...was up so significantly,' Dodds says.

For more more regional travel news and information, visit

Wondering where to go?

When it comes to Memorial Day weekend, a handful of places stand out as top destinations among Oregonians, according to the Oregon/Idaho AAA office. Perhaps you see yours on this list?

Visiting with friends/relatives and dining

Most Memorial Day weekend travelers will stick close to home and hang out with loved ones.

The Oregon Coast

Only slightly less than an hour drive and full of scenic splendor, the Oregon Coast is forever popular.

Eastern Oregon

Though the Memorial Day weekend weather forecast for areas east of the Cascades isn't too much drier than Columbia County is expected to be, it's still a popular travel spot.

Crater Lake

Despite being typically snow-locked until the middle part of July, AAA's Marie Dodds says Oregon's only National Park remains high on the to-go list.

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