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Memorial Day holiday travel may near record with 44M hitting the road: AAA

The American Automobile Association is anticipating a record-tying almost 44 million vacationers — a overwhelming majority hitting the highway for no less than 50 miles — on the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day Weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” Paula Twidale, senior vp of AAA Travel, mentioned of the anticipated 43.8 million to hit the highway between Thursday, May 23, and Monday, May 27.

“We’re projecting an additional 1 million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”  

Traffic in the New York area is expected to be horrid on Memorial Day Weekend.
Traffic in the New York space is predicted to be horrid on Memorial Day Weekend. Paul Martinka

The final time 44 million individuals hit the highway on MDW was 2005, in line with the affiliation.

This 12 months’s projections — 38.4 million of us by automotive alone — are additionally 4% increased than in 2023 and have surged 1.9% above 2019 figures as nicely.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal,” mentioned Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at transit knowledge firm INRIX. “Travelers should stay up-to-date on traffic apps, 511 services and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary.”

In New York City, the Bronx to Albany part of the New York State Thruway, Interstate 87, is projected to see a 64% uptick in northbound quantity at about 11:45 a.m. the Thursday earlier than Memorial Day.

That late-morning slot is the worst time to travel up I-87, which incorporates the Major Deegan Expressway inside the metropolis limits.

Other areas like Orlando; Las Vegas; Southern California; Seattle; Anchorage, Alaska, and Vancouver, Canada, had been additionally flagged as high-traffic places, due to an abundance of theme parks and different leisure locations.

Meanwhile, airports too are gearing up for an anticipated 3.51 million vacationers over the holiday — up 4.8% from final 12 months and 9% from 2019.

I-87 is expected to have gruesome delays on Memorial Day weekend.
I-87 is predicted to have grotesque delays on Memorial Day Weekend. Getty Images

Even buses, cruises and trains are anticipated to see almost 2 million individuals, a 5.6% surge in comparison with 2023.

“This category took the biggest hit during the pandemic with fewer people taking public transportation or not cruising at all,” Twidale mentioned.

“Now – five years later – we’re back to 2019 numbers. Travel demand has been soaring, and long holiday weekends create the perfect windows for getaways.” 

Travel by train is also expected to surge. Pictured in the Moynihan Train Hall at New York's Penn Station.
Travel by practice can be anticipated to surge. Pictured is the Moynihan Train Hall at New York’s Penn Station. Getty Images

The worst instances to hit the highway on Memorial Day Weekend

Date  Worst Travel Times Best Travel Times
Thursday, May 23  12:00 to six:00 p.m. Before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
Friday, May 24  12:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 25  2:00 to five:00 p.m. Before 1 p.m. and after 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 26  3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Before 1 p.m.
Monday, May 27  3:00 to 7:00 p.m. After 7 p.m. 

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