On the travel front, AAA just released their 2024 Memorial Day projection. Can you believe the unofficial kickoff to summer is just 11 days away? Crazy. And speaking of which, airports and roads are expected to be crazy too, as “AAA projects 43.8 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Memorial Day holiday travel period. This year’s total number of travelers is a 4% increase over last year and comes close to matching 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers.”

Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, said, “We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years.” She continued on to say, “We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”

As usual, more people will travel by car than any other transportation method and road trips are expected to set a record. “AAA projects 38.4 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, the highest number for that holiday since AAA began tracking in 2000. The number of drivers this year is up 4% compared to last year and 1.9% higher than in 2019. Traveling by car is appealing for many people because of the convenience and flexibility it provides. AAA car rental partner Hertz says Orlando, Denver, Atlanta, Boston and Las Vegas are the cities displaying the highest rental demand, with the busiest pick-up days projected to be Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24.”

Airports are expecting a spike in travelers as well. “AAA expects 3.51 million air travelers this holiday weekend, an increase of 4.8% over last year and 9% jump compared to 2019. This will be the most crowded Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005, when 3.64 million flew for the holiday as the travel industry finally rebounded post 9/11.”

Don’t forget about other modes of transportation like buses, cruises, and trains as “AAA projects 1.9 million people will take these other modes of transportation, an increase of 5.6% compared to last year. Twidale said, “This category took the biggest hit during the pandemic with fewer people taking public transportation or not cruising at all. Now – five years later – we’re back to 2019 numbers. Travel demand has been soaring, and long holiday weekends create the perfect windows for getaways.”

AAA outlines the Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car which you can see a general guide below:

Date                              Worst Travel Time      Best Travel Time
Thursday, May 23        12:00 – 6: 00 PM           Before 11 AM, After 7PM
Friday, May 24              12:00 – 7:00 PM            Before 11AM, After 8 PM
Saturday, May 25        2:00 – 5:00 PM               Before 1 PM, After 6 PM
Sunday, May 26           3:00 – 7:00 PM               Before 1 PM
Monday, May 27          3:00 – 7:00 PM               After 7 PM

Or click here to view AAA’s website for a detailed guide of each major metro city, route, peak, congestion period, estimated travel time and increase percentage compared to typical days.


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