By Kelsey Kushner

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The weather is heating up and so are the travel plans.

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and after more than a year of Covid hibernation, it seems like many are celebrating by getting out of town. One in four people say they plan on traveling.

READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Memorial Day Weekend Will Be On The Cooler Side, Rain Expected

More than 34 million people plan on hitting the road this weekend and another 2-1/2 million will fly. So no matter how you’re getting to your final destination, expect it to be busy.

Officials say this is the moment may have been waiting for – to get the vaccine and get out of the state. So they’re expecting a lot more travelers this weekend, and whether you’re flying, boating or driving, they want to make sure everyone stays safe.

The weather is heating up, and so is the need for a vacation.

“Driving out to Denver starting tomorrow morning,” motorist Zoe Zawisa said. “Twenty-four straight hours, it’s going to be brutal.”

But before you pack the trunk and head out, highway officials say make sure you’re prepared for busy roads, filled with people eager to get back to normal.

“Traffic this Memorial Day weekend could be equal to traffic on Memorial Day weekend on the pre-pandemic world,” said state Transportation Secretary Greg Slater.

More than 700,000 Marylanders are expected to get out of town, that’s up 53 percent compared to this time last year.

M-DOT says just last week, BWI Thurgood Marshall International Airport set a new pandemic era record for departing passengers with more than 25,000 heading out in a single day.

READ MORE: Ocean City Maryland Welcomes Memorial Day Tourists, But Officials Say Be Safe, Pack Patience

“I was surprised because the airport was packed,” said driver Latoya Carter.

From jam-packed airports to busy waterways, police said they’re going to keep their eye on everyone to make sure people are safe.

“Boat sales have been at a record level, so there’s more boats out on the water than ever before,” said Col. Adrian Baker, superintendent of Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Maryland State Police will be cracking down on impaired, aggressive, and distracted driving, as well as speeding, after what’s been a deadly year on the state’s roads.

“We will have extra troopers patrolling Maryland highways from the mountains to the beaches this holiday weekend,” said Lt. Col. Roland Butler, chief of the Field Operation Bureau for the Maryland State Police

To avoid traffic, many say their plan is to head out early.

“I can imagine a bunch of people are just excited to get out,” said driver Aseem Chaedry.

Zawisa echoed that: “Filling up the gas tank, so I’m ready to go.”

Police said they plan to keep a close eye from above and use a helicopter to help monitor the flow of traffic.

MORE NEWS: Transportation Officials Urging Drivers To Be Responsible This Memorial Day Weekend


Kelsey Kushner