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Memorial Day travel surge expected as Americans gear up for summer getaways

Memorial Day weekend travel: What to expect
Memorial Day weekend air travel expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels 01:51

With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, the unofficial start of the summer travel season is ready for takeoff.

Auto group AAA is projecting that the upcoming Memorial Day weekend will be one of the busiest ever in the country as Americans eagerly seek to kick off the summer by getting out of town.

More than 42 million people are expected to hit the roads or take to the sky for the holiday weekend, marking a significant 7% increase from last year, according to AAA.

AAA predicts air travel will surpass numbers seen in 2019, with nearly 3.4 million passengers expected to pack airports, making it the second busiest holiday weekend on record. Andrew Gross, a spokesperson for AAA, said "people just want to travel."

According to the airfare tracking site, Hopper, domestic prices for flights are cheaper than last year but have increased by 6% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, international fares are the highest they have been in five years. 

The majority of travelers, more than 37 million, will be traveling by car, slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels but up 6% from last year— due in part to low gas prices.

Those who are traveling are traveling for longer. The three-day Memorial Day weekend is increasingly turning into a six-day summer starter, with travelers opting to extend their trips beyond the traditional holiday period.

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