TAMPA — The summer travel season kicked off with what was forecast to be the most traveled Memorial Day weekend in a decade. Now, a new AAA Consumer Pulse survey shows growth in summer traveler plans as well.

More than three quarters (77 percent) of Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee residents plan to take at least one summer vacation trip this year between the months of May and September, according to the survey. More than half (56 percent) of vacation plans will run from 4 to 7 days.

“Americans want to travel during the summer and now have even more reason to do so,” said Brent Stahlheber, senior vice president of brand marketing and travel at  AAA — The Auto Club Group. “Travelers have more money in their pockets this year, thanks to lower gasoline prices and improvements in the economy. Now they can justify taking multiple vacations and following some of the most popular travel trends like a beach getaway, theme park or cruise.”

The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) from April 15 through 26. A total of 1,206 residents completed the survey. The survey has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18 and older) in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

This summer, 76 percent of travelers will drive, and 43 percent will fly to their summer vacation destination. In fact, when considering all modes of transportation, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say low gas prices are reason why they are more likely to drive.

“The average American household will spend $675 less on gasoline this year alone,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA — The Auto Club Group. “Pump prices are forecast to average $2.55 this summer, and if that forecast holds, motorists will find the cheapest summer gas prices in five years.”

Driving gives travelers the most control over length of trip and expenses. Over one-fourth of respondents (26 percent) expect to spend $501-$1,000 on leisure travel in the next three months. While vacationing this summer, 65 percent of travelers will stay in a hotel or motel.

The most influential factors for travelers when booking a hotel are

Price (70 percent)

Ratings/reviews (46 percent)

Proximity to attractions/location (45 percent)

Hotel amenities (42 percent)

Discounts (38 percent)