|Overall National Travel Figures are Third Highest for the Holiday
Although state holiday travel figures are poised to reach record highs, national travel numbers are still slightly behind pre-pandemic levels. Click here to read the full report.
Total Travelers – AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend*. That’s 2.7 million (+7%) more travelers than last year, but fewer people than what was reported in 2019 (42.8 million) and 2005 (44 million).
Air Travel – Despite higher ticket prices, demand for flights is soaring. AAA predicts the strongest air travel numbers since 2005. Nearly 3.4 million are expected to fly for the holiday weekend. That’s 33,700 (11%) more passengers than last year, and 170,000 (5.4%) more than in 2019.
Airfares – Travelers are paying more for Memorial Day trips this year, in large part due to the rising cost of airline tickets. AAA booking data shows a 40% increase in airfares to this year’s Top Destinations.
Auto Travel – Memorial Day road trips are up 6% from last year. An estimated 37.1 million Americans will drive to their destinations. That’s 2 million more than last year, but 500,000 fewer than 2019 numbers. Driving remains the preferred mode of transportation for 88% of holiday travelers.
Gas Prices – Gas prices have moved lower in recent weeks, yet It’s too early to know if that downward trend will continue in the lead-up to the summer kick-off. However, it’s unlikely that prices will come anywhere near the state average that holiday travelers paid last year of $4.36 per gallon.
*Memorial Day Holiday Travel Period
For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
Best/Worst Times to Travel and Peak Congestion by Metro
Friday, May 26 will be the busiest day on the roads, according to INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights. The best times to travel by car, during the holiday weekend, will be in the morning or evening after 6 p.m. The lightest traffic days will be Saturday and Sunday.
To avoid congestion, INRIX suggests driving during non-peak hours or using alternative routes.