The nation’s highways are going to be jam-packed as Americans kick off the unofficial start to summer this Memorial Day weekend. According to the American Automobile Association, despite higher gas prices, Americans will travel in near record numbers fueled in part due to a good economy.
Expect Delays on Busiest Travel Days
In all, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That’s nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years.
With nearly 2 million additional people taking to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation, you can expect delays. INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal. The busiest days are expected to be Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers.
“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”
36.6 Million Americans Will Travel Via Car
By far the most Americans – 36.6 million – will travel by car. So if you want to avoid the most traffic, steer clear of the late afternoon peak drive times on Thursday and Friday, May 24 and May 25. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip. New Yorkers could see three times the delay.
“Ranked the most congested country in the world, U.S. drivers are all too familiar with sitting in traffic,” said Graham Cookson, Chief Economist and Head of Research, INRIX. “Drivers should expect congestion across a greater number of days than in previous years, with the getaway period starting on Wednesday, May 23. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commute times in major cities altogether – traveling late morning or early afternoon – or plan alternative routes.”
Higher Gas Prices Not Deterring Travelers
With 88 percent of travelers predicted to take to the highways, high gas prices clearly aren’t deterring people from hitting the road. Drivers will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, which is 33 cents more from this time last year. Higher prices are blamed on crude oil prices, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply.
Most Popular U.S. Destinations
In case you wondered, Orlando again tops this year’s list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on AAA advance travel bookings. Seattle comes in second, followed by Honolulu, Las Vegas and Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo Credit: Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock
Source: AAA Press Release