Christine Delise
Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
cdelise@aaamidatlantic.com

TOWSON, MD (May 14, 2018)Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Americans will kick off the season by traveling in near-record numbers. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, 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, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being 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 Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager of AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to get away this Memorial Day holiday and kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

 

By The Numbers: 2018 Memorial Day Holiday Travel Forecast

  • Automobiles: The vast majority of travelers – 36.6 million – will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.
  • Planes: 3.1 million people will travel by air, a 6.8 percent increase and the fifth year of consecutive air travel volume increases.
  • Trains, Buses, Rails and Cruise Ships: Travel across these sectors will increase by 2.4 percent to 1.8 million passengers.

 

Drivers Beware: Worst Times To Hit The Road

For the 36.6 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25 – in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while 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.”

 

Worst Days/Times to Travel

Metro Area

Worst Day for Travel

Worst Time for Travel

Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip

Atlanta, GA

Thursday, May 24

3:30 - 5:30 PM

1.6x

Boston, MA

Thursday, May 24

4:30 - 6:30 PM

1.8x

Washington, DC

Thursday, May 24

4:30 - 7:00 PM

2.3x

New York, NY

Friday, May 25

3:30 - 6:30 PM

2.7x

 

 

 

Source: INRIX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Higher Gas Prices Not Deterring Travelers

The 88 percent of travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. Gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, an increase of 33 cents from last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supply. However, these higher prices are not keeping holiday travelers home, with automobile travel expected to increase for the fourth straight year, by nearly 5 percent over last Memorial Day.

 

With less than two weeks away from the holiday weekend, today’s national average price for regular gasoline is $2.87 per gallon, 16 cents higher than a month ago and a 53 cents increase compared to last year on this date.

 

Lower Hotel, Airline And Car Rental Costs Make Up For Higher Gas Prices

While road trippers will pay higher prices at the gas pump this year, travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for airfare, car rentals and most mid-range hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are seven percent lower than last Memorial Day, landing at an average price of $168 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. At $59, the average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year.

 

Travelers will also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels this Memorial Day, which are trending 14 percent less expensive than last year, with an average rate of $186 nightly. Meanwhile, AAA Two Diamond hotels are seven percent more expensive than last Memorial Day, with an average nightly cost of $151.

 

Top Memorial Day Travel Destinations

Orlando again tops this year’s list of the most-visited Memorial Day destinations in the U.S., based on AAA travel bookings. Cruises to Alaska, originating in Seattle and Anchorage, as well as warm-weather destinations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Phoenix and southern California top travelers’ domestic itineraries this summer.

  1. Orlando, Florida

  2. Seattle, Washington

  3. Honolulu, Hawaii

  4. Las Vegas, Nevada

  5. Anchorage, Alaska

  6. Phoenix, Arizona

  7. Anaheim, California

  8. Boston, Massachusetts

  9. Denver, Colorado

  10. New York, New York 

 

For those planning to kick off their summers with an overseas vacation, Europe is a major draw this year. Rome, Dublin and London are the most popular international travel destinations for Memorial Day weekend.

 

According to Hertz, a 40-year AAA partner, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers renting a car this Memorial Day are expected to be Orlando (MCO), Las Vegas (LAS), Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Kahului, HI (OGG). The busiest day for rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 25, with an average rental length of nearly six days, as travelers look to take advantage of the long holiday weekend.

 

AAA To Rescue More Than 340,000 Motorists

AAA expects to rescue more than 340,000 motorists at the roadside nationwide this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.

 

Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

 

Download The AAA Mobile App Before Memorial Day Road Trips

Before heading out on a road trip this Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. All travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, and search for AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, while AAA members can access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, and request AAA roadside assistance, as well.  Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

 

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

 

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.

 

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Mailing Address:
8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit AAA.com.

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