BALTIMORE (WJZ) — AAA Mid-Atlantic estimated that nearly 43 million Americans plan to travel during the long Memorial Day weekend. The number includes those driving, flying and riding on trains.
This would make it the second-highest travel volume on record since 2000. It amounts to a 3.6 percent increase of 1.5 million people from last year.
AAA said the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive, meaning travel delays on major roads could amount to more than three times longer than a normal evening commute. The company said about 37.6 million will drive, 3.25 million will fly, and 1.9 million will take trains, buses and cruise ships.
“Drivers in the most congested metros should expect much worse conditions than normal,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX, in a statement. “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.”
For drivers in the Washington D.C. area, the worst day for travel was said to be Monday, May 27 between 3:45 and 5:45 p.m.
AAA recommended that drivers get their vehicles checked before embarking on any road trips, and get any needed maintenance done. The company expects to be called for more than 353,000 rescues for people stranded on the side of the road due to car trouble. Drivers should prepare themselves for any 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.
Gas prices have increased by more than 30 cents in the last two months with the national average being $2.86 as of Tuesday, according to AAA. However, experts do not think this will deter drivers as prices are still similar to this time in 2018.
One upside is that officials said car rentals and hotel prices have decreased compared to this time last year. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental prices have declined 7 percent, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2 percent and 3 percent cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond Rated properties.
The top national Memorial Day destinations include Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Anaheim, Seattle, Phoenix, Anchorage, Tampa, and San Francisco. Internationally the list includes Rome, London, Dublin, Paris, and Vancouver.