Memorial Day weekend travel: Best and worst times to drive, gas prices by county, and more data

Around 1.1.M Michigan residents expected to drive Memorial Day weekend

FILE -- Traffic in Metro Detroit.

The AAA expects that over 1.2 million Michigan residents will travel 50 miles or more for Memorial Day weekend.

They expect 79,000 more people to travel than last year and just 36,000 less than 2019. Around 1.1 million Michigan residents are expected to drive, which is 62,000 more than last year. Around 66,000 are expected to fly, which is 7,000 more people than last year.

“Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to what promises to be a very busy summer travel season,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA -- The Auto Club Group. “Despite various inflationary pressures, consumer spending is strong, and Americans still want to travel. Because of that, we’ve seen demand come roaring back, just shy of pre-pandemic levels in Michigan.”

The AAA considers Thursday, May 25, through Monday, May 29, as the Memorial Day holiday travel period. The AAA expects that 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home.

They also expect to see the strongest air travel numbers since 2005. Nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly for the holiday weekend. That’s 33,700 (11%) more passengers than last year, and 170,000 (5.4%) more than in 2019. Travelers are seeing a 40% increase in airfares to this year’s top destinations.

Best and worst times to travel by car

According to INRIX, Friday, May 26, will be the busiest day on the roads. The busiest times to travel on during the holiday weekend will be in the morning or evening after 6 p.m.

The lightest traffic days are expected to be Saturday and Sunday. INRIX suggests driving during non-peak hours or using alternative routes.

DateWorst Travel TimeBest Travel Time
Thursday (May 25)3 p.m. - 6 p.m.Before 1 p.m.
Friday (May 26)3 p.m. - 6 p.m.Before 12 p.m.
Saturday (May 27)Minimal impactMinimal impact
Sunday (May 28)Minimal impactMinimal impact
Monday (May 29)12 p.m. - 3 p.m.Before 10 a.m.
Tuesday (May 30)4 p.m. - 6 p.m.Before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m.

View: Live traffic map

Gas prices by Michigan county

According to AAA, Memorial Day road trips are up 6% from last year. Around 37.1 million Americans will drive to where they’re going. Driving is the preferred mode of transportation for 88% of holiday travelers.

Gas prices have dropped in recent weeks, but the AAA said it’s too early to know if the downward trend will continue in the lead-up to Memorial Day weekend. They said it’s unlikely that gas prices will be near the average $4.60 per gallon Memorial Day weekend travelers paid last year.

Michigan holiday travel volumes


About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.