More people will travel for the Memorial Day holiday this year than last - despite inflation- according to the American Automobile Association's latest predictions.
2023 AAA Memorial Day Travel Forecast
AAA estimates that this will be the third busiest Memorial Day Weekend since 2000. This year, AAA predicts 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles of more from home over the three-day holiday. That's a 7% increase over 2022, which equals 2.7 million more people traveling this year over last.
#1 Road Trips
Most people as usual will take road trips. 37.1 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of more than 2 million and up 6% over last year. Gas prices are lower this holiday compared to last year, when the national average was more than $4 a gallon. Still, car travel is down by a about 500,000 compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
Here's a look at AAA's gas average data as of today, May 25th.
#2 Air Travel
Air travel will be up as well this year with nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly to their destinations. That's an increase of 11% over last year. In fact, air travel over the holiday weekend is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 170,000 more passengers – or 5.4% more – than in 2019. This, despite high ticket prices. AAA says this Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest at airports since 2005.
Travel by either bus and train is expected to total 1.85 million, an increase of 20.6% over 2022.
Busiest Travel Times
If you want to avoid the most congested times on the road -try to leave for your road trip Thursday. NRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects Friday, May 26 to be the busiest day on the roads during the long Memorial Day weekend. You'll also want to head out in the morning or after. 6pm. The lightest traffic days are predicted to be Saturday and Sunday. And if you live in major metro areas like Boston, New York, Seattle, and Tampa, you'll likely see travel times double compared to normal.
“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.”
For more data by Metro, visit AAA.