Expect record traffic for Memorial Day weekend


Despite higher gas prices, a record number of Americans are expected to be on the highways with you for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27. AAA forecasts some 37.6 million Americans will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year.

Memorial Day FlagsA total of 43 million people are expected to travel, the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes dating back to 2000. This year only trails the record set in 2005.

Despite a rising national gas price average of almost $3 per gallon, the vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations, according to AAA. For these motorists, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be more than three times longer than normal during evening commutes.

NRIX and AAA also predict drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip, while New Yorkers and Washington, D.C., could see three times the delay.

“Travelers should anticipate delays to start on Wednesday and continue through Memorial Day,” said  Trevor Reed, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Our advice to drivers is to avoid the morning and evening commuting times or plan alternate routes.”

Metro Area Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip
Atlanta Thursday, May 23 4:30 – 6:30 PM 2.2x
Boston Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
Chicago Friday, May 24 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.6x
Detroit Friday, May 24 2:30 – 4:30 PM 1.7x
Houston Sunday, May 26 2:15 – 4:15 PM 1.0x
Los Angeles Friday, May 24 4:30 – 6:30 PM 1.0x
New York Thursday, May 23 4:45 – 6:45 PM 2.0x
San Francisco Saturday, May 25 1:00 – 3:00 PM 1.6x
Seattle Monday, May 27 3:30 – 5:30 PM 1.0x
Washington, D.C. Monday, May 27 3:45 – 5:45 PM 3.0x
Source: INRIX

These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. New York, New York
  3. Las Vegas, Nevada
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Anaheim, California
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Anchorage, Alaska
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. San Francisco, California