ATLANTA – Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the second highest single-year increase in travel since 2010.
Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the busiest in three years, building on a travel resurgence that began earlier this spring. This year’s forecast marks the second highest single-year increase in travelers since 2010 (2021 was the highest), bringing volumes almost in line with pre-pandemic levels. (Click here to read the report)
“By the looks of this Memorial Day travel forecast, the summer travel season is off to a sizzlin’ start,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “People are more comfortable traveling now than any other time in the past two years, and travel bookings are a reflection of that. Reservations for flights, hotels, and cruises for Memorial Day weekend are twice as strong as last year’s holiday and that momentum will likely carry into the summer.”
AAA predicts nearly 1.2 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. That’s a 7.5% increase over 2021, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those from 2018.
|GEORGIA 2022 Memorial Day Holiday Travelers|
|Total||Automobile||Air||Other(Bus, Train, Cruise)|
|Change (2019 to 2022)||-6.5%||-5.3%||-2.3%||-43.3%|
|Change (2021 to 2022)||7.5%||4.9%||26%||211.3%|
Nationally, it’s a similar story. More than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend. The 8.3% increase from 2021 puts travel volumes in line with 2017 figures.
|NATIONAL 2022 Memorial Day Holiday Travelers|
|Total||Automobile||Air||Other(Bus, Train, Cruise)|
|Change (2019 to 2022)||-8.2%||-7.3%||-6.3%||-29.6%|
|Change (2021 to 2022)||8.3%||4.6%||25%||199.9%|
All Travel Modes Rebound; Air Travel Nears Pre-Pandemic Levels
A recent AAA survey found that Georgians are more comfortable traveling now than any time during the past two years. That increased comfort is driving growth in all modes of transportation this year, especially air travel.
Georgia air travel volumes are forecast to rise 26% from last year – the second-largest yearly increase in more than a decade. The 3 million Americans forecast to fly this Memorial Day weekend is just shy of 2019 levels. The number of Georgia air travelers are off by just 2.3% from 2019.
“Surging demand and weather have challenged flight schedules since the beginning of the year,” Haas continued. “With the type of volume we anticipate going forward, we still recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Both are lifesavers if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”
90% of Travelers will Drive, Despite Record-High Gas Prices
Despite historically high gas prices, 90% of Memorial Day travelers plan to travel by car. Over 1.1 million Georgians are forecast to take a holiday road trip. That’s 4.9% more than last year’s holiday weekend.
Gas prices for Memorial Day are likely to be the highest on record. A combination of tightening global supplies and strong demand are the main culprits behind this unprecedented pain at the pump.
As of press time, the average price for gasoline in Georgia is $4.15 per gallon. Previously, Memorial Day travelers found pump price averages of $2.91 in 2021, $2.61 in 2019, and $2.84 in 2018. The highest average price recorded on Memorial Day was $3.91 per gallon in 2008.
“Coming out of this 2-year pandemic, Georgians are eager to travel again, and it doesn’t seem like record high gas prices or other inflationary pressures will stop them,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Many may look at cost cutting measures to offset the added expense, like driving shorter distances, staying in a less expensive hotel, or spending less on shopping, dining and entertainment.”
- Compare pricing on AAA’s Leisure Travel Index
- Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 6% more than last year coming in at $184/ticket. Saturday is the most expensive day to fly and Monday is the least.
- Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 42%, with the average lowest nightly rates ranging between approximately $199 – $257/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
- Car Rentals—Daily car rental rates have decreased 16% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $100/day.
Busiest Travel Days/Times
Based on AAA booking data, Thursday is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the Memorial Day travel period (May 26 – May 30) with Monday being the lightest.
- Arriving at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
- Booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times.
- Hitting the road when there’s less traffic and allowing extra time when traveling to your destination.
For those hitting the road, Thursday and Friday are anticipated to be peak traffic days.
INRIX predicts drivers will encounter the longest travel delays before the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
|Worst Corridors and Times to Travel|
|Metro Area||Corridor||Peak Congestion||% Over Normal|
|Atlanta||I-85 S, Clairmont Rd to MLK Dr||5/26/22, 3:30-5:30pm||128%|
|Boston||I-93 S, Purchase St to MA-24||5/26/22, 2:30-4:30pm||110%|
|Chicago||I-290 E, IL-110 to Racine Ave||5/26/22, 3:30-5:30pm||131%|
|Detroit||I-96 W, 6 Mile Rd to Walled Lake||5/27/22, 3:00-5:00pm||65%|
|Houston||I-69 N, I-610 to I-10||5/27/22, 4:45-6:45pm||88%|
|Los Angeles||I-5 S, Colorado St to Florence Ave||5/27/22, 4:45-6:45pm||123%|
|New York||I-278 W, Long Island Express to 39th St||5/26/22, 3:15-5:15pm||161%|
|San Francisco||I-80 W, Gilman St to Civic Center||5/26/22, 5:45-7:45pm||105%|
|Seattle||I-5 S, WA-18 to WA-7||5/27/22, 5:00-7:00pm||112%|
|Washington DC||I-95 S, I-495 to VA-123||5/26/22, 3:45-5:45pm||77%|
Prepare your Vehicle; AAA will rescue 388,000 Stranded Motorists
For the 34.9 million Americans hitting the road, it’s always advisable to get your vehicle road-trip ready with a full vehicle inspection. AAA expects to respond to over 388,000 calls for help over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Get key components checked like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels and make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is fully stocked.
AAA’s Tips to Combat Higher Travel Prices
- Book early. Airfares and hotel prices normally rise as the travel date gets closer and availability diminishes.
- Be flexible with your dates and destinations. Select off-peak travel times, like when kids are in school. Prices are lower when there’s less demand.
- Determine if it’s cheaper to drive or fly. This will depend on distance and number of travelers.Shop airfares, then use the AAA Gas Cost Calculator to estimate the cost of gasoline for your trip.
- Participate in loyalty programs and memberships like AAA, which can provide discounted rates on hotels, dining and more.
- Use a travel agent. They have direct relationships with travel suppliers, enabling them to access travel pricing, inventory, and benefits you may not find on your own.
- Don’t forget travel insurance. If you miss your trip for some reason, travel insurance can help recoup deposits and other expenses you may not otherwise get back. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, there are policies that can help offset additional expenses you weren’t prepared for. You could also receive financial compensation for flight delays of as little as 3 hours.
Money-Saving Tips for Road Trippers
- Leave early to avoid congestion and more time on the road.
- Reduce food costs by packing snacks and water.
- Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort. This limits driving and paying a la carte for entertainment and dining.
- Compare gas prices with the free AAA Mobile app. Filling stations near airports and attractions often have the highest prices.
- Use AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator to determine how much you can expect to spend on gasoline during your trip.
Big Cities and Beaches are Top Destinations
AAA booking data reveals that big cities and beaches are top destinations this Memorial Day, both domestically and abroad:
|2022 Top Memorial Day Destinations|
|U.S Destinations||International Destinations|
|Orlando, FL||Vancouver, Canada|
|Seattle, WA||Dublin, Ireland|
|Miami, FL||Paris, France|
|Las Vegas, NV||Rome, Italy|
|Anaheim, CA||London, England|
|New York, NY||Cancun, Mexico|
|Denver, CO||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Anchorage, AK||Barcelona, Spain|
|Boston, MA||Nassau, Bahamas|
|Honolulu, HI||Calgary, Canada|
In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit– a world leader in critical information, analytics and expertise — developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from IHS Markit’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. AAA and IHS Markit have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000.
Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitorsm. The PERFORMANCE/Monitorsm is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 U.S. households each month to obtain detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spending, identify trends, and forecast U.S. travel behavior —all after the trips have been taken.
The travel forecast is reported in person-trips. In particular, AAA and IHS Markit forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of April 11, 2022.
Memorial Day Holiday Travel Period
For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
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About AAA – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. INRIX’s partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.
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S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) provides essential intelligence. We enable governments, businesses and individuals with the right data, expertise and connected technology so that they can make decisions with conviction. From helping our customers assess new investments to guiding them through ESG and energy transition across supply chains, we unlock new opportunities, solve challenges and accelerate progress for the world. We are widely sought after by many of the world’s leading organizations to provide credit ratings, benchmarks, analytics and workflow solutions in the global capital, commodity and automotive markets. With every one of our offerings, we help the world’s leading organizations plan for tomorrow, today. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com.
DK SHIFFLET boasts the industry’s most complete database on U.S. resident travel both in the U.S. and worldwide. Data is collected monthly from a U.S. representative sample, adding over 60,000 traveling households annually and is used daily by leading travel organizations and their strategic planning groups. DK SHIFFLET is an MMGY Global company.