Memorial Day trip increases 60% even as gasoline approaches $ 3 a gallon

According to AAA Travel, Las Vegas is the top Memorial Day travel destination in 2021.

Hisham Ibrahim | Choice of photographer RF | Getty Images

Travel is expected to continue its boom over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the start of the summer vacation season. AAA Travel predicts the number of Americans traveling on rails, airports, and roads will increase by 60% year over year – even as gas prices rise to levels not seen in seven years.

Domestic destinations and car trips will be the top picks for the more than 37 million people expected to travel between May 27 and May 31, the organization predicts. According to Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, the upswing reflects both pent-up demand and higher vaccination rates.

“As more people get the Covid-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are showing a strong desire to travel on Memorial Day,” she said in a statement. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for the summer, although we must all remember to continue to take critical safety precautions.”

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An outbreak of new variants of Covid or other unknown factors could affect travel recovery, Twidale warned.

Gasoline prices may also slow down some road trips, which are projected to top $ 3 per gallon in many parts of the country due to high demand and the temporary shutdown of the colonial pipeline following a cyberattack.

The rising price of fuel is the highest projected national average for gasoline since 2014, according to AAA Travel. However, it likely won’t detract from many Americans’ determination to head out. More than 9 in 10 US vacationers, around 34 million, will be arriving by car on Memorial Day – an annual jump of 52% from 2020, although that’s still 9% less than 2019.

“We don’t expect higher gasoline prices to put motorists off this holiday season as many Americans love to travel,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette C. McGee said in a statement. “We usually find that as pump prices go up, travelers are looking for more free activities or eating out less on vacation, but still making their planned trips.”

Where Are Americans Going On This Memorial Day?

AAA Travel saw an increase in online visits and bookings on AAA.com for both hotels and rental cars. Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida are the two top travel destinations. Here’s a look at the top road trip destinations and where people book overall:

Where Americans Go on Memorial Day

Car trips:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Orlando Florida
  3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  4. Denver
  5. Nashville, Tennessee

AAA travel bookings:

  1. Orlando Florida
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Honolulu
  4. Anchorage, Alaska
  5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Source: AAA Travel

Hotspots like Honolulu and Anchorage are obvious to most flight destinations, and 2.5 million Americans will board airplanes for this vacation. That’s six times more than in 2020, an increase of 557%, but 750,000 fewer leaflets than in 2019.

According to AAA Travel, only 237,000 vacationers will travel by bus or train, the lowest volume recorded since 2020.

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