BUFFALO, N.Y. — Memorial Day is two weeks away, and the unofficial start to summer is expected to kick off a busy travel season.
“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel.
“More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”
AAA data is projecting that 42.3 million Americans will travel 20 miles or more on Memorial Day weekend, which is a 7% increase from last year. That means around 2.7 million more people are expected to travel this year compared to last year.
AAA is telling people to take that as a sign of what's to come this summer.
For Memorial Day weekend, there is expected to be an 11% increase in people flying. This is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels and could be the busiest at airports since 2005.
This year, people planning on taking road trips won't be faced with the same high gas prices as last year. Despite that, car travel is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels. It will however, beat the levels of last year.
“With lower fuel prices and more travelers on the road compared to last year, drivers should expect long delays this holiday weekend, especially in and around major metros as commuters mix with Memorial Day travelers,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX.
“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid driving during peak hours or use alternative routes.”
Travelers looking to beat the traffic should leave in the morning on Thursday and Friday. The best time to travel on Monday is before 10 a.m. Minimal traffic is expected on Saturday and Sunday.