39 million Americans will travel Memorial Day weekend, approaching pre-pandemic numbers

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This Memorial Day weekend will be busy for travel across the country.

Travel is expected to top last year’s figures by 8.3% with around 39.2 million people hitting the road despite record fuel prices, higher air fares, higher hotel rates and a new wave of covid infections, according to data published by AAA.

Compared to last year’s holiday weekend, AAA expects a 4.6% increase in car travel, a 25% increase in flights and a 200% increase in bus travel, in train and cruise ship.

“I think this year, especially with the vaccines readily available and many people being vaccinated, a lot of people are keen to travel,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Ragina Ali. Washington Post. “The overwhelming, pent-up demand for people to return to some sort of normality seems to outweigh the costs.”

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Rising prices are not stopping travelers, experts say, as travel volumes are expected to reach 92% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Also according to AAA, “the 8.3% increase [from 2021] will be the second strongest growth in traveler numbers for this holiday weekend since 2010 and bring total travel volume back to 2017 levels.”

Historically high gasoline prices began in early March, averaging $4.60 per gallon nationwide, but road trips will remain the most popular choice among Americans at nearly 89%. The report notes that the number of people traveling by car is expected to be around 34.9 million, about 93% of 2019 volume.

More than 3 million people are likely to fly this weekend, a 25% increase from 2021 but still representing only 7.7% of total travellers.

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As far as prices are concerned, the flight will also present significant cost increases compared to previous years. On the cover of TODAY ShowHopper apps said the average domestic flight for this weekend is $394, a 28% increase from pre-pandemic Memorial Day in 2019.

As for other modes of transport, 1.3 million people are expected to use buses, trains and cruise ships.

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