Nearly 43 million Americans are expected to start their summers with a Memorial Day weekend getaway, according to AAA.
The long holiday weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer vacation season, will see the second highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000, trailing only the bar set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation's roads, rails and runways compared with last year, a 3.6% increase.
"Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth," said Paula Twidale, Vice President, AAA Travel. "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."
AAA predicts that during the 2019 Memorial Day holiday the vast majority of travelers – 37.6 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year.
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers and Washington, D.C., could see three times the delay.
"Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal," said Trevor Reed, Transportation Analyst, INRIX. "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."
AAA to rescue more than 353,000 motorists
AAA expects to be called on to rescue more than 353,000 motorists at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons for call outs.
AAA recommends motorist take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. Be prepared for emergencies with a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.