Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and a near record-breaking number of Americans are expected to hit the road to kick it off this year, according to AAA.
Nearly 43 million Americans are expected to mark the unofficial start of summer on a high note with a Memorial Day weekend jaunt, making it the second most traveled since AAA began tracking travelers in 2000, only behind 2005.
In total, an additional 1.5 million more people are expected to travel this year on roads, rails, and runways, AAA announced, a 3.6 percent increase from last year’s holiday.
According to AAA, 37.6 million are expected to hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and a 3.5 percent increase from last year. An estimated 1.9 million passengers will travel on trains, buses or cruise ships and 3.25 percent will take to the skies, second only to 2005 and 4.8 percent more than last year.
AAA notes that motorists in the tri-state area may see travel times that triple a normal trip during the holiday, adding that the worst day for travel will be Thursday, May 23 between 4:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
“Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal,” Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX, said. “Travelers should anticipate delays to start on Wednesday and continue through Memorial Day. Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes.”
Of the top Memorial Day travel destinations, New York came in second on the list, behind only Orlando and ahead of Las Vegas, Honolulu, Anaheim, and Seattle.
“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”
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