Memorial day marks the unofficial start of summer and is, in turn, a busy travel day. According to AAA, nearly 42 million Americans are planning a Memorial Day getaway in 2018. Most of these travelers (36.6 billion) will travel by car, up 4.7% from last year. The busiest days are predicted to be Thursday and Friday (May 24-25), so if you are traveling then, plan ahead.
Travel by car
Despite the highest gas prices since 2014, more travelers will travel by car than planes, trains, buses, and cruise ships combined. Though gas prices averaged $2.72 in April, a 33 cent increase from last year, Memorial Day travel by car is expected to increase for the fourth straight year. This increase in travelers mixed with commuters on Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day will likely cause major delays for all, especially in large cities like New York. “Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commute times in major cities altogether – traveling late morning or early afternoon – or plan alternative routes”, says Graham Cookson, chief economist and head of research at INRIX.
If you plan to travel by car this Memorial Day, make sure you are prepared. AAA recommends you make a good B-E-T. Have your Battery tested, check for Engine coolant leaks, and check your Tire condition. For more information on how to prepare for a road trip, read our blog post. As Memorial Day is statistically one of the most dangerous times to drive in the year, you will also want to remain alert. The National Coalition for Safe Roads (NCSR) has reported that 2.3 million drivers in 18 states will run a red light every second on Memorial Day. In addition, 400 people on average die out on the road during the Memorial Day weekend, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Travel by air
Lower airline and hotel prices make up for the increase in gas prices and travelers can score good deals. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are 7% lower than last Memorial Day and the average daily cost to rent a car is $59, 11% cheaper than last year. The busiest day to rent a car is expected to be May 25, with an average rental length of nearly 6 days.
Whether you are traveling or sticking around home, stay alert on the roads and remember, don’t drink and drive!