An estimated 43 million Americans will start their summers with a Memorial Day weekend getaway to start the summer season, according to AAA Northeast, including 37.6 million who will travel 50 miles or more by car. AAA is advising motorists to make sure they are prepared to travel safely and except possible traffic and delays.
This long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer vacation season, will see the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the number in 2005, the organization said Wednesday. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with the same period last year, an increase of 3.6%.
“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Lloyd Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”
Despite a rising national gas price average that is inching closer to the $3 per gallon mark, the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. For these motorists, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes.
In New England, an estimated 1.9 million people are expected to travel with 1.75 million driving to their destinations.
In addition to driving, planes are expected to carry approximately 3.25 million U.S. travelers, a 4% increase over last year, and 1.9 million are expected to travel by train, bus or cruise ship, a 3.8% increase.
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas are the most popular travel destinations. For those travelers planning an international vacation for Memorial Day, Europe is the destination of choice with Rome, London, Dublin and Paris being most popular locales for international vacations.
— Jason Vallee