AAA Texas: Memorial Day travel expected to reach pre-pandemic levels

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Memorial Day weekend is now here, and millions of Texans are now hitting the road and the sky for the extended holiday weekend.

AAA Texas projects 3.5 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, a seven percent increase over 2022 and the second highest total volume for Texas since AAA began tracking Memorial Day travel data in 2000. Across the country, there will be a similar increase in total travel volume with 42.3 million Americans expected to venture 50+ miles away from home.

“Memorial Day kicks off what will be a very busy summer travel season despite higher prices. With international booking volumes exceeding 200 percent above last year, time is running out to make preferred accommodations at popular destinations this summer,” said Galen Grillo, AAA Texas Vice President and General Manager. “AAA Texas encourages working with a travel advisor as they can provide expert planning advice and offer peace of mind should there be any changes during your trip.”

An estimated 287,000 Texans are expected to fly to their destinations this Memorial Day, that’s an increase of 13 percent over last year. On a national scale – 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly to their destinations this Memorial Day, that’s an increase of 11 percent over last year. Air travel over the holiday weekend across the country is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 170,000 more passengers – or 5.4 percent more – than in 2019. Despite high ticket prices, demand for flights is skyrocketing. This Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest at airports since 2005 in terms of domestic round-trip leisure travelers.

Memorial Day road trips are up 6 percent over last year in Texas with three million expected to drive to their destinations. Across America, 37.1 million will drive to their destinations, an increase of more than two million. Gas prices are lower this holiday compared to last year, when the national average was more than $4 a gallon. Despite the lower prices at the pump, car travel this holiday will be shy of pre-pandemic numbers by about 500,000 American travelers.

More people this holiday are taking other modes of transportation, like cruises, buses and trains. These travelers are expected to total 1.9 million with 148,000 Texans expected to use these travel methods. This is an increase of more than 20 percent over 2022.

The automobile remains the primary mode of travel in 2023, a year which is estimated to have the second highest total travel volume for Memorial Day weekend in Texas since 2000. Roadways will be busy this year, just shy of the record set in 2005 when 3.6 million people traveled for the holiday. It’s another indicator that travel has seen a major rebound following the COVID-19 pandemic. Far from the top 5 years for Texas Memorial Day travel volume, in 2020 approximately 1.9 million Texans traveled, resulting in the lowest Memorial Day since 2000. Prior to 2020, Memorial Day 2009 was the lowest year for travel volume over the holiday period.

AAA Texas Travel Forecast


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