Memorial day travel expected to increase compared to 2020 Original

FILE – In this March 31, 2021 file photo, traffic moves along the Interstate 76 highway in Philadelphia. If you’re traveling over the Memorial Day weekend, expect lots of company. The AAA auto club said Tuesday, May 11, that more than 37 million Americans plan to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– The number of Americans planning to travel this year is a significant rebound over last year, according to AAA travel.

37 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during May 27 through May 31, the report says, which is a 60% increase over last year when only 23 million traveled.

Of those 37 million, 34 million Americans are planning to travel via auto, with an expected increase of 52% compared to 2020. More than 9 out of 10 travelers will drive to their destination this Memorial Day.

Nearly 2.5 million Americans will be traveling on airplanes, which is nearly six times more than last year. However, this is still 750,000 fewer people compared to 2019.

Just 237,000 Americans are expected to travel via other modes, including bus and train this holiday. This is the second-lower year on record, behind 2020.

2020 saw the lowest numbers since AAA began recording in 2000.

The 37 million expected is still 13% fewer travelers compare to that of 2019.

AAA says the actual number of travelers over the holiday could fluctuate as we approach Memorial Day.

The company has noted significant recent increase in online traffic and bookings on, especially for hotels and car rentals heading into the summer travel season.

Here are some of the top destinations this Memorial Day season:

Road trips:

  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Orlando, FL
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Denver, CO
  • Nashville, TN

AAA Travel Bookings

  • Orlando, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Colorado Springs, CO

AAA travel says that those traveling by car this Memorial Day can expect gas prices to be the highest they’ve been since 2014, with the national average possibly being more than $3 per gallon.

This increase is in part due to higher demand, the report says.

There have been some instances were some gas stations are seeing low to no supply at pumps for a few days due to delivery delays, AAA says.

INRIX predicts that travel delays will be the longest during the days before the holiday week, particularly during the afternoons of May 27 and May 28.

They say drivers in several of the country’s major metros could experience double the travel time compared to normal. Atlanta, Houston and New York drivers could see three times the delay on their busiest corridors.

AAA says they urge those who are traveling this year to exercise caution and take measures to protect themselves and others as the pandemic continues.

“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel said in the report. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions.”

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider and the holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 27 through Monday, May 31, consist with the records of previous years.

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