Record-Breaking Memorial Day Weekend: Over 42 Million Americans Set To Travel

Record-Breaking Memorial Day Weekend: Over 42 Million Americans Set To Travel

AAA forecasts that approximately 42.3 million Americans will embark on journeys of 50 miles or more from their home over Memorial Day weekend, a 7% increase over last year. It is expected that 2.7 million more people will travel during the upcoming summer season than last year, which is indicative of the trends that can be expected in the coming months.

“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”  

This Memorial Day, more than 3.4 million passengers are expected to fly to their destinations, an 11% increase over last year. The number of people flying during the holiday weekend is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels and be 170,000 (5.4%) higher than last year. Demand for flights is increasing rapidly despite high ticket prices. Airports could experience the busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2005.

Compared to last year, the number of car trips on Memorial Day have risen by 6%. Approximately 37.1 million Americans choose to drive to their desired destination, an increase of over 2 million people. Gasoline prices for the vacation are lower than last year, when the national average was more than $4 per gallon. However, despite the lower cost at gas stations, the number of travelers choosing to drive this vacation falls short of pre-pandemic numbers, with about 500,000 fewer people making the trip.

During these holidays, more people use buses and trains. 1.85 million of these travelers are expected to use these means of transportation, an increase of 20.6% over 2022.

Top Destinations

Based on booking data from AAA for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, destinations such as Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas are emerging as the most popular domestic destinations. In particular, cities with cruise ports in Florida and Alaska, as well as Seattle, are enjoying strong demand due to a notable 50% year-over-year increase in domestic cruise bookings. Other popular cities in the U.S. for Memorial Day include Denver, Boston, Anaheim and Canton, Ohio

“We are seeing a demand for iconic cities, international vacation packages, and cruises with included amenities that provide more value for the price,” Twidale added. 

This year’s Memorial Day travel costs are largely higher due to the increased airline ticket prices. Flights to this year’s top destinations are 40% more expensive, according to booking data from AAA. But that’s not stopping people from buying international tickets.