More people will get away this Memorial Day weekend than have in the past 12 years, with 39.3 million U.S. travelers expected to take to the road, skies, rails and water, according to a forecast released Wednesday from auto club AAA.
That represents an increase of 1 million more travelers — 2.7% — this year than last Memorial Day weekend. It represents the third consecutive year that U.S. travelers have been on the move for 50 miles or more over this holiday weekend.
“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing, said in a written statement. “Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”
Most of the travelers — 88.1% or 34.6 million — will drive to their destinations. That is an increase of 2.4% over last year despite higher gas prices. Most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015. The national average price for a gallon of gas on Wednesday is $2.34, 11 cents more than last year.
More travelers will take to the road in rental cars. AAA’s car rental bookings are 19% higher than last Memorial Day.
The busiest day for car rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 26, based on last year’s data, according to rental car company Hertz.
Although driving is the most popular mode of transportation, many more U.S. travelers will also be heading to the airport this Memorial Day weekend. A total of 2.9 million people in the USA are expected to take to the skies this Memorial Day, an increase of 5.5% over last year.
Average airfares are also up for the top 40 domestic flight routes. They will be 9% higher this Memorial Day, with an average round trip ticket costing $181, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.
While most travelers will head to domestic destinations, Europe is also enticing many people, with Rome, London and Dublin among the most popular destinations. Popular U.S. destinations are Orlando, Seattle, Las Vegas and New York.
But other types of transportation such as cruises, trains and buses are also attracting more travelers — 1.75 million in total. That’s a 2.9% spike over last year.