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AAA Predicts That Nearly 42 Million Americans Will Travel During Memorial Day Weekend This Year

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Even in the face of growing gas prices, an increased amount of Americans are currently set to embark on vacations this weekend

Orlando Florida night skyline

Once again, Orlando is the top tourist destination for Memorial Day Weekend
Photo: Bill Dickinson

Memorial Day Weekend is usually regarded as the official start to the summer season. Summer is the busiest time of the year for family vacations, and a good portion of those vacations take place over the course of the late-May holiday.

With gas prices at their highest level since 2014, you might think that a lot of Americans would choose to stay home instead of traveling this weekend. However, AAA estimates that 5% more Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend than a year ago, with the number projected to exceed 41.5 million travelers.

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AAA predicts that the vast majority of these travelers will utilize their own automobiles, with  total of 36.6 million motorists setting out for different destinations throughout the nation. This 4.7% increase in on-road travelers comes at a time when gas prices have hit a national average of $2.92, up nearly 33 cents from a year prior.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

gas pump

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Another 1 million Americans are expected to travel by plane, representing a 6.8% increase in air travel and a fifth year of volume increases for airlines, due in no small part to less expensive airfare. The remaining 1.8 million vacationers are expected to travel by train, bus, or boat.

36.6 million drivers out on the road during one weekend will undoubtedly lead to some congested travel in certain cities across the country. The worst of this congestion will likely take place on Thursday and Friday, with New York City set to experience 2.7 times as much traffic as usual.

Batmobile in new York City

New York City traffic is set to become even more congested this weekend 
Photo: Reda H

New York also happens to be one of the 10 most popular vacation destinations this year. The top three vacation destinations are Honolulu, Seattle, and Orlando, which took the top spot thanks to its numerous theme parks.

Several destinations outside of the U.S. are also set to see some increased traffic this weekend. AAA predicts that Rome, London, and Dublin will be the most popular overseas vacation spots for U.S. travelers this year.

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All of that increased traffic will mean more motorists who are in need of assistance from organizations like AAA. In fact, AAA expects to assist more than 340,000 drivers this weekend.

It would appear that, now more than ever, Memorial Day is considered one of the most popular weekends of the year to travel. Just don’t be too surprised if you find yourself in congested traffic alongside travelers with similar vacation plans.

Source: AAA