AAA expects nearly 2.2 million Florida residents to travel over Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend is expected to be its busiest in three years, based on the resurgence of travel that began earlier this spring. This year’s forecast represents the second-highest one-year increase in travelers since 2010 ( 2021 was the highest), bringing volumes roughly in line with pre-pandemic levels.

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“Given the travel outlook for this Memorial Day, the summer travel season is off to a great start,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel at AAA. People feel more comfortable traveling now than at any other time in the past two years, and travel bookings are a reflection of that. Bookings for flights, hotels and cruises on Memorial Day weekend are twice as strong as last year’s holiday and that momentum is likely to continue into the summer.”

AAA expects nearly 2.2 million Florida residents to travel 50 miles or more from home on Memorial Day weekend. This is an 8.3% increase over 2021, which puts travel volumes roughly in line with those in 2017.

Florida 2022 Travelers on Memorial Day Vacation

Graphic courtesy AAA Florida

Nationally, it’s a similar story. More than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the weekend. The 8.3% increase from 2021 brings travel volumes in line with 2017 figures.

Travelers on National Memorial Day Holiday 2022

Graphic courtesy AAA Florida


Graphic courtesy AAA Florida

recovery of all travel modes; Air travel is approaching pre-pandemic levels

A recent AAA survey found that Florida residents are more comfortable traveling now than at any time in the past two years. This increased convenience is driving growth in all modes of transportation this year, especially air travel.

The volume of air travel in Florida is expected to rise 28% from last year – the second largest annual increase in more than a decade. The 3 million Americans expected to fly this Memorial Day weekend are just shy of 2019 levels. Air travelers in Florida are down just 1% from 2019.

“Increasing demand and weather have challenged flight schedules since the beginning of the year,” Haas continued. “With the kind of scale we anticipate going into the future, we still recommend travel agent safety net and travel insurance. Both are lifesavers if something unexpected derails your travel plans.”

90% of commuters will drive, despite record-high fuel prices

Despite historically high gas prices, 90% of Memorial Day travelers plan to travel by car. Nearly two million Florida residents are expected to take the road trip. This is 5.4% more than last year’s weekend.

Gas prices for Memorial Day likely to set a new record for the holiday

A combination of shrinking global supplies and boosting demand are the main reasons behind this unprecedented pain at the pump. As of press time, the average price of gasoline in Florida is $4.50 per gallon. Previously, Memorial Day travelers found that pumps averaged $2.86 in 2021, $2.60 in 2019, and $2.91 in 2018. The highest average price on record for Memorial Day was $3.93 per gallon one in 2008.

“After emerging from this two-year pandemic, Florida residents are eager to travel again, and record high gas prices or other inflationary pressures don’t seem to stop them,” American Automobile Association spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “Many may consider cost-cutting measures to offset additional expenses, such as driving shorter distances, staying in a less expensive hotel, or spending less on shopping, dining and entertainment.”

travel prices

• Air – AAA found the average ticket price to be 6% lower than last year’s $184 per ticket. Saturday is the most expensive day to fly and Monday is the least.

• Hotels – Mid-range hotel rates are up about 42%, with average nightly lower rates ranging from $199 to $257 per night for AAA-certified hotels.

• Car Rentals – Daily car rental rates are down 16% compared to last year, averaging $100 a day.

Busiest travel days/times

air travel – Based on AAA booking data, Thursday is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during Memorial Day travel period (May 26 – May 30) with Monday being the lightest.

The AAA recommends:

• Arrive at the airport at least two hours before the time for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.

• Book a flight during off-peak travel periods to reduce waiting times.

• Road crash when there is less traffic and additional time when traveling to your destination.

road trips – For those hitting the road, Thursday and Friday are expected to be peak traffic.

INRIX expects drivers to experience the longest travel delays before the weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. Drivers on the main US metro may experience twice the travel times compared to a normal trip.

Graphic courtesy AAA Florida

Prepare your car AAA will rescue 388,000 stranded motorists

For the 34.9 million Americans who hit the road, it’s always a good idea to prepare your road trip with a complete vehicle inspection. AAA expects to answer more than 388,000 calls for help over Memorial Day weekend. Check major components such as the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes, and fluid levels, and make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is fully stocked.

AAA tips to combat high travel prices

• Book early. Prices for airline tickets and hotels usually rise as travel dates approach and availability decreases.

• Be flexible with your dates and destinations. Limit off-peak travel times, such as when children are at school. Prices are lower when demand is lower.

• Determine whether it is cheaper to drive or fly. This will depend on the distance and number of passengers. Shop for airline tickets, then use the AAA gas cost calculator to estimate the cost of gasoline for your trip.

• Participation in loyalty and membership programs such as AAA, which can provide discounted rates on hotels, restaurants, and more.

• Use a travel agent. They have direct relationships with travel suppliers, enabling them to access travel prices, inventory, and benefits that you might not find on your own.

• Don’t forget your travel insurance. If for some reason you miss your trip, travel insurance can help you recover deposits and other expenses that you might not otherwise recover. If your flight is canceled or delayed, there are policies that can help offset additional expenses you weren’t prepared for. You can also get financial compensation for flight delays of 3 hours.

Money saving tips for road drivers

• Leave early to avoid crowds and more time on the road.

• Reduce food costs by packing snacks and water.

• Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort. This limits driving and pay-as-you-go entertainment and dining.

• Compare gas prices with the free AAA mobile app. Filling stations near airports and attractions often have the highest prices.

• Use the AAA Gas Cost Calculator to determine how much you can expect to spend on gas during your trip.

• Use loyalty programs like AAA Membership, which offers discounted rates for hotels, restaurants, and even gasoline.

Big cities and beaches are the best destinations

AAA reservation data reveals that major cities and beaches are the top destinations this Memorial Day, both domestically and abroad:

Graphic courtesy AAA Florida


Graphic courtesy AAA Florida

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