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Memorial Day Weekend travel in full swing, as millions take to the roads and skies

Millions head out for Memorial Day Weekend
Millions head out for Memorial Day Weekend 02:13

NEW YORK -- Memorial Day Weekend is here upon us, and it's exected to be the busiest for travel since 2019. 

AAA is predicting a more than 8% increase for people looking to get away this weekend compared to last year. 

As CBS2's Elijah Westbrook reports, it's the unofficial start to summer, and some are ready to get awy this weekend either by taking to the skies, roads and rails. But as gas prices, airfare and hotel fees climb, some say they're staying home. 

"Everything is so expensive, to go anywhere. Look at the gas, at how much it is," said Queens resident Avi Attias. 

Attias says he's sitting this one out. Gas prices continue to soar, and after seeing how much it is for regular gas at an East Elmhurst, Queens station, it's a no for him. 

"Just going to hang out at home, you know?" Attias said. 

An if it's not the gas prices, it's the traffic for others. 

"The traffic was also yesterday. Just horrible going out to Long Island," one person said. 

But for millions of others, getting away is a must, especially for Denise Mejia, who's flying out of LaGuardia Airport for a girls trip down to Miami. 

"We haven't traveled since COVID, so it's nice to get out and take a little break," Mejia said. 

"So this is a big deal?" Westbrook asked. 

"Yes, it is. First time traveling together as a group," Mejia said. 

According to AAA, 39.2 million will have traveled 40 miles or more over the next few days. That's an 8.3% increase from last year. Air travel continues to rebound, up 25% over last year, with levels closing in on pre-pandemic levels. 

The roads are also expected to see an increase of more than 160% over normal traffic volumes during peak hours. 

"It's really something. Despite the gasoline prices that are over $5 a gallon in New York City, we're seeing so many people taking a trip from our region," said AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair. 

AAA said Thursday was by-far the busiest getaway day for the New York region, with traffic peaking as early as 3:15 p.m. Roads are expected to see an increase of more than 160% over normal traffic volumes. 

According to AAA's research, both air travel and hotels are going to cost more for travelers this summer. Airfares are up 6% compared to last year, and hotel prices have risen 42%. 

One bright spot is daily car rentals are down 16% over the past year. 

Busy summer travel season expected, despite soaring gas prices 04:48

AAA says Memorial Day Weekend is always a good predictor of what's to come for summer travel, which is expected to be quite busy. Planning ahead and being flexible is key as many people are overdue for a vacation following the pandemic. 

"Get here early, check your flights, have the apps to the airlines, make sure you check it before you leave, have patience and get to your destination safely," said Tara Nicholson of Queens. 

And, of course, it's always a good idea to get to the airport an hour and half to two hours prior to your scheduled flight. 

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