AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, a 7% increase over 2022. This year, 2.7 million more people will travel for the unofficial start of summer compared to last year, a sign of what’s to to come in the months ahead.
“Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to what promises to be a very busy summer travel season,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Despite various inflationary pressures, consumer spending is strong, and Americans still want to travel. Because of that, we’ve seen demand come roaring back, just shy of pre-pandemic level.”
Total Travelers – AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. That’s 2.7 million (+7%) more travelers than last year, but fewer people than what was reported in 2019 (42.8 million) and 2005 (44 million).
Air Travel – Despite higher ticket prices, demand for flights is soaring. AAA predicts the strongest air travel numbers since 2005. Nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly for the holiday weekend. That’s 33,700 (11%) more passengers than last year, and 170,000 (5.4%) more than in 2019.
Airfares – Travelers are paying more for Memorial Day trips this year, in large part due to the rising cost of airline tickets. AAA booking data shows a 40% increase in airfares to this year’s Top Destinations.
Auto Travel – Memorial Day road trips are up 6% from last year. An estimated 37.1 million Americans will drive to their destinations. That’s 2 million more than last year, but 500,000 fewer than 2019 numbers. Driving remains the preferred mode of transportation for 88% of holiday travelers.
Gas Prices – Gas prices have moved lower in recent weeks, yet it’s too early to know if that downward trend will continue in the lead-up to the summer kick-off. However, it’s unlikely that prices will come anywhere near the statewide average that North Dakota holiday travelers paid last year of $4.26 per gallon. The average currently stands at $3.37.
Memorial Day Holiday Travel Period
For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
AAA is seeing increased demand for iconic cities, international vacation packages, and cruises with included amenities that provide added value for the price.
- Tourist hotspots like Orlando, New York City, and Las Vegas are top domestic destinations, according to AAA booking data for the Memorial Day weekend.
- Other popular U.S. cities this Memorial Day include Denver, Boston, Anaheim, and Canton, Ohio – home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Domestic cruise bookings have increased 50% from last year. Cruise port cities in Florida and Alaska, as well as Seattle, are high on the list. View AAA’s 14 Insider Cruise Tips for your First Voyage.
International travel is surging with bookings 250% higher this holiday weekend compared to 2022. European cities are the most popular, including Rome, Paris, Dublin, London, Barcelona, and Athens. International car rentals are up more than 80% over 2022. AAA reports strong sales for International Driving Permits this year, almost double what they were last year.
Strong travel demand and pandemic-related backlogs have caused passport processing delays, resulting in an unprecedented number of applications for expedited passport and visa services with RushMyPassport. AAA members get exclusive rates when using passport courier service.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.