Scripps News LifeTravel

Actions

Memorial Day kicks off what's expected to be a packed travel season

AAA estimates more than 42 million Americans went somewhere for Memorial Day this year.
Posted at 9:21 PM, May 29, 2023

After years of low travel due to COVID-19, this year's Memorial Day travel has hit pre-pandemic levels according to AAA. Many say that's a good thing, because it means life is back to normal.

And AAA says this is going to be occurring for a lot of our major summer holidays.

While Memorial Day is to remember those who died while serving in the military, it's also one of the busiest holidays for the spring and summer, with beaches, lakes and airports packed.

"Across the country we think 42.3 million Americans have traveled over Memorial Day — that is a 7% increase since 2022," said AAA's Skyler McKinley.

McKinley says with all the travel, all your favorite spots across the country will have more people.

"There's a couple different reasons for that, while there's still a surge in folks traveling by air — airfare is up 40% overall — some folks who didn't want to book early or spend as much have been staying closer to home," McKinley said. "They're still traveling along our roadways and going to destinations that don't have a ticket price associated with them. You see crowds at those places, you see crowds across the country. We know roadways will get choked up outside the city. This is one of those reminders you can't get mad at traffic — you are traffic — you can't get mad at crowds — you are a crowd."

Overhead view of interstate and ramps.

Over 40 million Americans expected to travel Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 26, will be the busiest day to travel with the lightest travel days being Saturday and Sunday.

LEARN MORE

McKinley says this is a good sign for a normal summer after years of people worrying about the pandemic.

And he says AAA predicts it will be this way all summer.

Also, gas prices this year are down by more than a dollar from a year ago at this time — a helpful sight for anyone filling up this holiday weekend.

Take note of what you’re seeing this Memorial Day, because McKinley says to anticipate it for months to come.

You might book those campground reservations in advance — McKinley says now is the time to plan for Father's Day or the Fourth of July before those popular places get fully booked.