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Ready for summer? Family vacation season opens with Memorial Day

The summer travel season, whether its visiting Coney Island, Disneyland or Yellowstone, opens Memorial Day weekend. Time to schedule those flights and check the highways for this year's family vacation.

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Even though most travel will be on the ground this weekend, air travelers are advised to still leave plenty of time to get through airport security. ABC News reported that the busiest towns for air travel this weekend are expected to be Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver, Seattle, and Boston.

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Chicago officials, for example, expect 1.5 million people to pass through the city’s two international airports, Midway and O’Hare, a 3 percent jump from last year. O’Hare will feature the United Service Organization’s jazz band to serenade the traveler crowds.

Airlines say the Memorial Day is a good time for travelers to think about summer air reservations, suggesting that reservations be made two to three months in advance if you want your family to be able to sit together. Some irlines are starting to reserve window and aisle seats for passengers who are willing to pay extra – about $25 each way. Base fares are also on the rise: the average roundtrip summer ticket will cost $431, or 3 percent higher than last year, forecasts Kayak.com.

And where will people go?

Close to home are the all-American flag-waving parades in small towns and cities. One parade threatened with cancellation because of financial and participation troubles in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. was resuscitated after a local resident, Paul Brisson, started a Facebook campaign (with 540 likes) to raise the minimum $1,500 needed and find volunteers.

Major theme parks are on a renovation binge in this era of ever-increasing need for speed and thrills – sometimes delivered virtually on the couch at home with video games.

Brooklyn’s seaside attraction, Coney Island, is opening a new rollercoaster (made in Italy) and go-kart track – part of a redeveloped Scream Zone and other plans to include movie theaters, restaurants, and hotels.

Universal Studios Hollywood opens early this weekend – 7:30 a.m. – to give people a chance to try its new Transformers ride, inspired by the movie.  

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