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AAA: Memorial Day forecast points to scorching summer travel

(Fargo, ND) — Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the busiest in three years, building on a resurgence in travel that began earlier this spring. This year’s forecast marks the second-largest single-year increase in travelers since 2010 (2021 was the highest), bringing volumes back almost to pre-pandemic levels.

“Based on these Memorial Day travel forecasts, the summer travel season is off to a great start,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA. “People are more comfortable traveling now than at any other time in the past two years, and travel bookings reflect that. Flight, hotel and cruise bookings for Memorial Day weekend is twice as big as the holidays last year, and that momentum will likely continue well into the summer.

AAA predicts that more than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend. The 8.3% increase over 2021 brings travel volumes in line with 2017 figures.

Other numbers to consider include:

  • Total number of travelers expected up by 3 million compared to 2021 (39.2 million in 2022, compared to 36.2 million)
  • Car travel is king, with 89% (34.9 million) of people hitting the road for Memorial Day travel
  • More than 3 million people will take flight
  • More than three times as many people will take buses, trains and cruises in 2022 compared to 2021 (1.33 million compared to 440,000)

For the purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, May 26 through Monday, May 30.