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

TOWSON, MD (May 22, 2018)AAA Mid-Atlantic projects nearly 890,000 Marylanders will get away for the holiday weekend, a 4.7 percent increase over last year, and the highest number of Memorial Day weekend travelers since 2001 when AAA began tracking holiday travel. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.

 

This year’s forecast also reflects the fourth consecutive year Maryland’s travel volume is expected to exceed 800,000 and reveals new record highs for auto and air travel for the holiday.

 

“Our forecast shows that more Marylanders than ever will be getting away for the holiday weekend and this year, they will be taking to the roads and the skies in record numbers to get to their destination,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “As with Americans across the country, Marylanders are being motivated to travel thanks to a stronger economy and growing consumer confidence.”

 

AAA Mid-Atlantic and law enforcement officials, joined by Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan, gathered at noon today to kick off the unofficial start to the summer vacation season with travel projections and traffic safety initiatives.  The annual event was held at Hemingway’s Restaurant in Stevensville, at the southern base of the Bay Bridge.

 

“Ocean City is looking forward to the start of summer this Memorial Day holiday weekend,” commented Mayor Meehan. “We have lots of fun in store in Ocean City this year, including an exciting line-up of events and features. All we ask is that everyone walk smart, drive smart and bike smart while you visit us.”

 

                                2018 Projected Memorial Day Holiday Weekend Travel - Maryland

Travel Mode

Estimated # of Marylanders Traveling

Percentage of Travelers

Increase/Decrease Compared to 2017

Auto

793,000

89%

+4.6%

Air

71,600

8%

+7.4%

Other Modes

25,100

3%

+0.9%

Total

889,700

--

+4.7%

 

Automobile Travel Breaks Memorial Day Holiday Record, Despite Higher Gas Prices

Despite the highest gas prices since 2014, AAA estimates a record number of residents, 793,000 will drive to their destination, an increase of 4.6 percent from last year’s holiday.

 

“Except for a brief reprieve in February, gas prices have been on an upward trend since the start of the year,” commented Averella. “So to see Marylanders still planning to take to the roads, and in record numbers, is amazing, and a testament to residents’ willingness to spend money.”

 

As of Monday, Maryland’s average price was $2.92 per gallon, five cents higher than last week, up 17 cents from last month and 57 cents more than last year on this date.  Last year on Memorial Day, the average price for regular gasoline in Maryland was $2.39 per gallon, while for the 2014 holiday the state average was $3.66 per gallon.

 

“While Maryland’s average is eight cents away from the $3.00 per gallon mark, AAA does not anticipate prices to reach the levels seen back in 2014,” added Averella.

 

Air Travel Hits New High For Holiday, Thanks To Lower Airfares

Residents will also take to the skies in record numbers, over 71,000, an increase of 7.4 percent compared to last year’s holiday, the highest percentage growth of all the travel modes.  This is the first time air travel for the Memorial Day weekend has crossed the 70,000-volume benchmark since 2001 when AAA began tracking holiday travel.

 

“Lower airfares for this year’s holiday appear to be a contributing factor to the robust volume of travelers intending to fly to their destination this year,” commented Averella.

 

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.

 

Other Travel Crosses 25,000 Volume Threshold

The number of Marylanders choosing other modes of transportation, including bus, train and cruise ship, crossed the 25,000-volume threshold this year, after several years of stagnant figures around 24,500.

 

“However, despite the volume gains this year, travel by other modes always lags well behind auto and air, which travelers seem to prefer for their transport on holiday weekends,” said Averella.

 

Traffic Safety

The Maryland State Police and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police will be out in full force patrolling the State’s highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and are urging motorists to take responsibility while driving to keep themselves, their passengers and others on the road safe.

 

“Police officers in Maryland recognize the important mission we have in reducing traffic crashes,” said Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Lioi, Bureau Chief of Maryland State Police Field Operations.  “Our strict enforcement of traffic laws is a daily reminder to drivers that our laws are in place for their safety.  Violation of those laws impacts the safety of everyone on our roads, including public safety personnel.”

 

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.

 

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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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