AAA Travel Reveals Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast

AAA Travel Reveals Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast

by Donald Wood
Last updated: 10:55 AM ET, Mon May 15, 2023

New data projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50
miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, a seven-percent increase
from last year.

According to AAA Travel, 2.7 million more people will travel
for the holiday travel period this year, with the five-day period running from
Thursday, May 25, to Monday, May 29. Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said
this year’s totals would make the holiday the “third busiest” since 2000.

“More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier,
despite inflation,” Twidale said. “This summer travel season could be one for
the record books, especially at airports.”

The survey found that road trips for the unofficial start to
summer will be up six percent, with 37.1 million travelers in the United States
expected to drive to their destinations. The total is still around 500,000 shy of
pre-pandemic totals.

As for air travel, nearly 3.4 million are expected to fly for
Memorial Day, an increase of 11 percent over last year. Data shows that holiday
air travel will exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 5.4 percent more people (170,000)
flying than in 2019.

Other modes of transportation popular with holiday travelers
include buses, trains and cruise ships, with 1.85 million people expected to travel
via alternative methods, an increase of 20.6 percent over 2022.

Transportation data provider INRIX said May 26 would be the
busiest day to travel, while the lightest traffic days will be Saturday and

“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,” INRIX analyst Bob Pishue said. 

As for the top destinations, booking data for the Memorial
Day weekend shows tourist hotspots like Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas
are top domestic hotspots. Cruise port cities in Florida and Alaska, as well as
Seattle, are also high on the list, given the 50 percent increase in domestic
cruise bookings compared to last year.

Travelers are paying more for trips this year, with data
showing a 40 percent increase in airfare to this year’s top destinations. International
travel is also surging, with bookings 250 percent higher this holiday weekend
compared to 2022.

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