AAA expects a significant rebound in the number of Americans planning to travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend.
More than 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more between May 27 and May 31. That’s a 60 percent increase from last year, when only 23 million traveled, the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.
In Michigan, more than 1 million residents are forecast to take a trip during the holiday weekend -- a nearly 57 percent increase from last year, when fewer than 700,000 residents traveled, due to the pandemic.
After a historically low year of air travel in 2020, this Memorial Day will see nearly 2.5 million Americans boarding airplanes, nearly six times more than last year (+577 percent). Still, 750,000 or 23 percent fewer people will take to the skies this holiday compared to 2019. AAA reminds air travelers that masks are required in all airports and on flights.
With 34 million Americans planning Memorial Day road trips, auto travel is expected to increase 52 percent compared to 2020. Nearly 12 million more Americans will travel by car this holiday than in 2020, though this is still nine percent less than in 2019.
More than nine in 10 Memorial Day travelers will drive to their destinations, as many Americans continue to substitute road trips for travel via planes, trains and other modes of transportation. The TripTik travel planner on AAA.com and in the AAA App include COVID travel restrictions for destinations, helping travelers plan road trips based on the latest requirements.
Meanwhile, just 237,000 Americans are expected to travel by other modes, including bus and train, this Memorial Day. This is the second-lowest volume on record, higher only than the 185,000 who traveled in 2020. In 2021, travel via these modes will be 88 percent below 2019 levels.
AAA notes that the actual number of holiday travelers could fluctuate as we approach Memorial Day.
If there is an increase in reported cases attributed to new COVID-19 variants, some people may decide to stay home, while others may note the strong progress in vaccinations and make last-minute decisions to travel. AAA recommends working with a travel agent, who can help if you need to make any last-minute changes to travel plans as well as explore travel insurance options and help you plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort-level this summer.
Another factor contributing to the expected increase in travel this holiday is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated guidance that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, while taking proper precautions. It’s important to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place, however. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information to help plan their trip.
For travelers who are not vaccinated but choose to travel, the CDC recommends that you practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested before and after travel. Whether you are vaccinated or not, remember masks are required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations.