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2024 Memorial Day Weekend Expected to Have Most Travelers in 20 Years

by Aoife O’Riordan

May 15, 2024

© JIM LAMBERT | DREAMSTIME.COM

eFlyer Lead

This year, AAA projects nearly 44 million travelers will venture 50 miles or more from home for Memorial Day weekend, a 4 percent increase over last year. This number nearly matches 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “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.”

Last year, 36.9 million Americans traveled by car, with this year expected to see 38.4 million do the same. A similar trend is expected for air travel, too. In 2023, 3.35 million Americans traveled by plane; 3.51 million are anticipated to travel by air this year.

AAA car rental partner Hertz reports Orlando, Denver, Atlanta, Boston and Las Vegas show the highest car rental demand, the busiest pick-up days being May 23 and 24.

Airports will experience the most crowded days for Memorial Day weekend since 2005, as well. AAA booking data shows a 1–2 percent increase in prices for domestic flights compared to last year.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, said drivers leaving May 23 and 24 should make for the road early to avoid mixing with commuters.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal. Travelers should stay up to date on traffic apps, 511 services, and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX.

Similarly, travelers returning home on May 26 or 27 should avoid afternoon hours when return trips peak.

What are the most popular Memorial Day weekend domestic destinations this year? AAA names Orlando, Florida; Seattle, Washington; New York City, New York; Las Vegas, Nevada; Anaheim/Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; and Anchorage, Alaska. For international travel this Memorial Day weekend, AAA notes Rome, Italy; Vancouver British Columbia, Canada; London, England; Paris, France; Dublin, Ireland; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Athens, Greece as top choices for Americans.

AAA defined the Memorial Day holiday travel period as the five-day range from May 23 to May 27.

Are you traveling this Memorial Day weekend? Where are you going? Are you traveling by car or plane or other means? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.

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