Record numbers of travelers expected over Memorial Day weekend

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – AAA Project 43.8 million travelers will travel more than 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day holiday travel period.

This year’s total number of travelers is up 4% from last year and nearly matches the 2005 Memorial Day record of 44 million travelers.

“We haven’t seen these numbers of travelers over the Memorial Day weekend in nearly 20 years,” said Paula Tweedale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. . “We expect an additional 1 million more people to travel this weekend compared to 2019. Not only does this mean we have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, but it also marks the arrival of a very busy summer travel season. It means to.”

With gas prices at the same level as last year and domestic car rental prices falling, many Americans will be taking road trips this summer. AAA predicts 38.4 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend. This is the highest number for the holiday since AAA began tracking him in 2000. The number of drivers this year is up 4% compared to last year.

This Memorial Day weekend, drivers can expect gas prices similar to last year, when the national average was about $3.57. Pump prices rose this spring but have remained somewhat stable in recent weeks. As the summer driving season begins, prices may start to creep up. The wild card remains oil prices, and unlike last year, there are now two wars going on in the Middle East and Ukraine, which could disrupt the oil market.

When are the best and worst times to drive? INRIX, which provides traffic data and insights, said drivers leaving on Thursday or Friday should hit the roads early to avoid mixing with commuters. INRIX advises travelers returning on Sunday or Monday to avoid the afternoon hours, when round-trip travel is at its peak.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal,” said Bob Picheux, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Travelers should stay informed on transit apps, 511 services, and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary.”

Airports are preparing for a surge in travellers. AAA forecasts 3.51 million air travelers this weekend, an increase of 4.8% from last year. This is the busiest Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005, when 3.64 million people took flight.

Ticket prices are similar to last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Domestic flight prices are up 1% to 2%, according to AAA booking data. Several factors affect how much a traveler pays for airfare, including destination, number of stops, and fare class.

Buses, cruises, and trains will be popular choices for Memorial Day weekend travelers. AAA predicts that 1.9 million people will use these other modes of transportation, an increase of 5.6% compared to last year.

“This category was hit the hardest during the pandemic, with fewer people using public transport or not taking cruises at all,” Tweedale said. “Five years later, we’re back to 2019 numbers. Demand for travel is surging, and the long holiday weekend is the perfect opportunity to take a break.”

travel cost comparison

According to AAA travel booking data for the 2024 Memorial Day weekend:

  • Domestic flight tickets are 2% more expensive than last year
  • Domestic rental cars are 17% cheaper compared to last year.
  • Domestic hotels are down 5% compared to the previous year
  • International flights are 4% more expensive than last year.
  • The average for overseas hotels is almost the same as last year.
  • International car rentals are 16% cheaper compared to last year

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