AAA’s projections for the Memorial Day holiday show 42.3 million will travel 50 miles or more away from home, 2.7 million more than last year, a seven percent increase and the third highest since AAA began monitoring holiday travel in the year 2000. The year 2005 saw the greatest number of travelers with more than 44 million. Second highest was 2019 with 42.8 million.
The holiday travel period is Thursday, May 25, through Monday, May 29.
More than 37.1 million, 87 percent, will drive to their holiday destinations, two million (six percent) more than last year. “Driving is always the most popular mode of holiday travel,” said Robert Sinclair of AAA Northeast. “Drivers can set their own schedule and have transportation at their destination.”
Air travel is 11 percent higher than last year with 3.4 million traveling, this despite air fares to top destinations 40 percent more than last year. According to the AAA travel agency, international travel bookings are 250 percent higher than a year ago.
Travel in the other (train, bus, cruise) category is more than 20 percent higher with 1.85 million. Domestic cruise bookings are up 50 percent according to AAA travel.
The top domestic destinations are Orlando, NYC, Vegas, Denver, Boston, Anaheim and Canton, Ohio, the home of the pro football hall of fame. International travelers are heading to Rome, Paris, Dublin, London, Barcelona and Athens. Overseas travelers plan to do a lot of driving. International car rentals are 80 percent higher compared to last year.
Gasoline prices are significantly lower than this time last year when the invasion of Ukraine sent averages well over four dollars per gallon. The national average today is $3.53 per gallon, compared to $4.47 a year ago. NYC last year averaged $4.85, Long Island $4.78, New Jersey $4.58 and Connecticut $4.51. Tri-state prices today range from a low of $3.41 in New Jersey to a high of $3.66 in the five boroughs of New York City.
INRIX, which monitors traffic patterns via anonymous data tracking, says the worst times to drive will be the Thursday and Friday before the holiday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Monday holiday itself from noon to 3 p.m. INRIX says generally the best time to travel is before noon Thursday, Friday and Monday. Minimal traffic is expected on Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.
Based on data from last year, AAA expects to rescue more than 483,000 broken down drivers during the holiday weekend, five percent more than a year ago. S&P Global Mobility announced yesterday that the average American car and light truck is 12.5 years old. AAA studies have found that vehicles begin to suffer from major breakdowns at 10 years of age. Flat tires and dead batteries will account for many of the calls for help over the weekend.
In the tri-state region, New York will see more than 15,000 broken down vehicles, New Jersey upwards of 13,000 and Connecticut 7,700. Drivers should have a qualified technician service their vehicle before a road trip to avoid a breakdown, which is inconvenient and dangerous.
AAA urges motorists to practice safe driving by not getting behind the wheel impaired by alcohol or marijuana, wear seat belts, obey speed limits and be mindful of slow down move over laws.
Submitted by AAA Northeast