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39.2 million expected to travel during this coming Memorial Day weekend

Gas prices way up again, ahead of Memorial Day weekend
Gas prices way up again, ahead of Memorial Day weekend 02:13

This coming Memorial Day is forecast to be the busiest in two years, with 39.2 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more in the unofficial start to the summer.

According to the Automobile Club, the 39.2 million people expected to travel for the Memorial Day weekend represents an increase of 8.3% over last year, bringing travel volume back to nearly pre-pandemic levels.

"Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what's to come for summer travel," Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. "Based on our projections, summer travel isn't just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months."

Air travel is up 25% this year over last year, the second-largest increase since 2010. For Memorial Day weekend, the Auto Club expects 3 million to take flight, surpassing 2019 levels with 7.7% of travelers opting to fly, compared to 7.5% in 2019. 

And even with gas prices $4 across most of the nation, 34.9 million people still plan to hit the road, up 4.6% over last year. 

For people planning to travel for Memorial Day, Thursday before the holiday is forecast to be the busiest day for air travel, while that day and Friday in the runup to the holiday weekend are expected to be peak traffic days.

However, travel is expected to be a challenge this summer — the pandemic continues to make staffing a challenge, and supply chain issues have driven up inflation across the board. The Automobile Club recommends booking travel plans early and consider purchasing travel insurance.

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