Travel Expected to Hit Pre-Pandemic Levels Memorial Day Weekend

Posted: May 18, 2023 7:24 am

It is still too early to pinpoint the weather forecast for Memorial Day weekend, however, travel could be dicey regardless of the conditions outside. The unofficial start to summer season is shaping up to be a hectic time for travelers.

Experts are warning that travel on the air and the roadways will be busier than it has been since the start of the pandemic. Here is what you need to know if your plans for the holiday weekend take you away from home.

Air Travel Forecast for Memorial Day Weekend

According to the latest travel forecasts from the AAA released last week, over 42 million Americans are expected to travel over 50 miles or more away from home. This could come in the form of air travel or car travel. This number represents an increase of about 7% when compared to 2022, translating to about 2.7 million additional people.

The AAA is also warning that the increase in travel over Memorial Day weekend is a harbinger of things to come for the summer as a whole. Despite an uncertain economy, more Americans are still planning to follow through with travel plans. In addition, AAA said that families are booking trips earlier than usual.

The automotive group said that they expect air travel over the holiday weekend to increase by 11% from last year. This equates to about 3.4 million people taking to the friendly skies over this 3-day weekend.

Should this prediction come to fruition, it would beat the 2019 pre-pandemic levels by 5.4%, a difference of 170,000 travelers. In fact, AAA said that this could be the busiest Memorial Day weekend at the nation’s airports since 2005.

Those travelers heading to the airport next weekend cannot be blamed if they feel a bit anxious. The winter holiday season brought a wave of delays and cancellations and some air travelers may be wary of taking to the skies again. A number of issues ranging from weather to air traffic control staffing issues were to blame for the disruptions.


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While you cannot control these factors, you can make smart travel decisions designed to minimize these risks. AAA recommends planning your travel well ahead of time and having alternate plans in mind in case things go south.

Good tips for air travel this summer and beyond include booking the first flight of the day and traveling light. For instance, not checking a bag makes it easier to change flights if necessary.

Road Trip Travel Predictions

Road trips are also expected to increase this Memorial Day weekend when compared to last year. AAA estimates that over 37 million Americans will travel over 50 miles from their homes by roadway, a figure that is predicted to be up by 6% when compared to 2022.

Helping the travel boon on the roads are lower gas prices this year. As of the end of last week, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was slightly over $3.54. This compares to $4.41 from 2022. However, travel by car will still likely fall short of pre-pandemic levels by about 500,000 Americans.

You can lower the odds that you hit traffic if you avoid traveling during peak times. The worst time to be driving over the Memorial Day weekend will be on Friday between 3 pm and 6 pm and again on Monday between noon and 3 pm.

Stay tuned for more details about the Memorial Day weekend weather forecast in your neck of the woods. This knowledge will help you to plan the best routes if traveling by car. Knowing the weather forecast will also prepare you for potential air travel delays.

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