As America reopens, over 37 million people are expected to travel for the Memorial Day holiday weekend — a big boost from last year’s record low.
That amount of people expected to travel 50 miles or more from house is a 60% increase from a year ago when just 23 million traveled, as shown by a AAA Memorial Day travel prediction published Tuesday. The 23 million figure from 2020 is the lowest recorded since AAA started tracking in 2000, the report stated.
“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence develops, Americans are demonstrating a strong urge to travel this Memorial Day,” Paula Twidale, the senior vice president AAA Travel, said in a statement.
“There are a lot of people who have been setting off traveling till they are completely vaccinated,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
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Nearly 50 percent of Americanshave received a minumum of one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. “I think people feel far more comfortable with travel,” Wen said. “The prices of neighborhood transmission will also be coming down. That is adding to people’s perception of a more normal environment.”
Most travelers are driving
Most of the Memorial Day weekend travelers — 34 million — are expected to get on the street again rather than fly, marking a 52% increase in automobile travel over last year. Top Memorial Day road trip destinations this year include Las Vegas; Orlando; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Denver; and Nashville, the report stated.
Gas is expected to be at its highest price since 2014, although AAA does not anticipate high gas costs to affect travel demand.
Whilst aviation will still be lower than 2019, the 2.5 million expected fliers signify a 577% rise from this past year. Recent TSA figures point to a strong summer for air travel: On Sunday, the TSA screened 1.71 million people, a new pandemic-era air travel record.