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39 Million Americans to Travel on Memorial Day Weekend, Nearing Pre-Pandemic Numbers

·2-min read
Busy airport
Busy airport


This Memorial Day weekend will be a busy one for travel nationwide.

Travel is expected to surpass last year's numbers by 8.3% with an estimated 39.2 million people hitting the road despite record-high gasoline prices, costlier airfares, higher hotel rates and a new wave of covid infections, according to data published by AAA.

Compared to last year's holiday weekend, AAA expects a 4.6 percent increase in car travel, 25 percent growth in flights and a 200 percent jump in travel by bus, train and cruise ship.

"I think this year, especially with vaccines being readily available and many people being vaccinated, many people have a desire to travel," Ragina Ali, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told the Washington Post. "Overwhelming, pent-up demand for people to resume some kind of normalcy seems to be outweighing the costs."

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Busy highway
Busy highway


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According to experts, rising prices are not stopping travelers as travel volumes are expected to reach 92% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Also per AAA, "the 8.3% increase [from 2021] will be the second highest growth in travelers for this holiday weekend since 2010 and will bring total travel volume in line with 2017."

Historic high gas prices began in early March, with an average of $4.60 a gallon nationwide, but car travel will still be the most popular choice among Americans by almost 89%. The report notes the number of people traveling by car is projected to be about 34.9 million, about 93% of 2019's volume.

Over 3 million people will likely be flying this weekend, a 25% increase compared to 2021, but still making up just 7.7% of total travelers.

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As for the prices, flying will also present significant cost increases compared to previous years. On coverage from the TODAY Show, the Hopper apps said the average domestic flight for this weekend costs $394, a 28% increase compared to Memorial Day before the pandemic in 2019.

As for the other modes of transportation, 1.3 million people are expected to take buses, trains and cruise ships.

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