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Traveling Memorial Day Weekend? Pack Some Extra Patience for the Road

Record Number Expected to Travel During Memorial Day Holiday

A record number of travelers are expected to drive to Memorial Day holiday destinations to celebrate the unofficial start to summer.

Joining them will be thousands of do-it-yourself movers heading to new hometowns and professional truck drivers, working hard to keep the supply chain moving.

AAA projects 43.8 million travelers to head 50 or more miles from home over the holiday weekend which begins Thursday, May 23 and ends Monday, May 27. The travel estimate is up 4% over last year and represents the highest figure since before the pandemic.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”

Holiday Travel By the Numbers

Road trips are expected to set a record. AAA projects 38.4 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, the highest number for the holiday since AAA began tracking in 2000. An additional 3.51 million will travel by air with 1.9 million choosing other modes of transportation.

Before slipping behind the wheel, experts advise planning ahead and packing plenty of patience.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, says drivers leaving Thursday or Friday should hit the road early. Travelers going back home on Sunday or Monday should avoid the afternoon hours when return trips will peak.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal. Travelers should stay up to date on traffic apps, 511 services, and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX.

Summer Moving Season

Memorial Day also signals the start to the busy summer moving season, as do-it-yourself movers pack up for moves across town and across the country.

  • Pack up early so loading can begin as soon as you pick up your truck.
  • Give yourself enough travel time to account for potential delays, including road construction.
  • Make sure you have snacks and drinks ready for the road.
  • For cross-country movers, plan breaks and do a little sightseeing along the way.
  • After you arrive at your destination, make sure you allow enough time to unload.

Moving plans taking a holiday? If you are looking for a change of scenery and need some inspiration, check out our 2023 Top 10 Moving Destinations list. Penske Truck Rental offers free unlimited miles on all one-way truck rentals, discounts for AAA members, college students and members of the military as well as packing supplies and 24/7 roadside assistance. Are you ready to make a reservation? Visit the Penske Truck Rental website for more information.

By “Move Ahead” Staff