AAA is projecting that more than 1.09 million Virginia residents will travel a distance of 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day Weekend and, as usual, the large majority will be driving to their destinations, although air travel and travel by other modes of transportation are both up significantly compared to last year.
Approximately 90% of travelers will be hitting the road for the holiday, up approximately four percent compared to last year.
“While the increase in auto travel is notable given the pain at the pump, a sharp jump in air travel and travel by other modes of transportation suggests gas prices may be motivating some travelers to consider alternatives to driving,” said Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic in Virginia.
As of Sunday, the national gas price average was $4.59, up 47 cents from a month ago and $1.55 more than last year. Virginia’s average was $4.46 on Sunday, up 50 cents from last month and $1.52 more than a year ago.
“Despite record-high gas prices, 35 million Americans — including nearly one million Virginians - are expected to hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend. Our roadways will be as crowded as they have been over the holiday since pre-pandemic, but airports, train stations and bus depots will also be extremely busy, so travelers should plan accordingly,” said Dean.
In fact, air travel is up nearly 24% over Memorial Day weekend last year, with AAA projecting that more than 87,000 Virginians will take to the skies. And, travel by other modes of transportation, which was slowest to recover from the pandemic, is up 183% over last year, with over 30,000 Virginians taking the train or bus, or cruising to their holiday destinations.
The increase in the number of Virginia residents traveling over the Memorial Day holiday mirrors national projections.
From Thursday through Monday, more than 39 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of more than eight percent over last year. And, most of those traveling — more than 35 million — will be hitting the road.
More than 3 million will be flying to their destinations, an increase of almost 25% over last year — but still slightly below pre-pandemic air travel. And, the most significant increase over last year is the number of holiday travelers going by train, bus or cruise line — more than 1.3 million, which is an increase of almost 200% over last year.
“Whether you will be driving, flying or taking some other mode of transportation over the holiday weekend, planning ahead is key to ensuring your best travel experience,” Dean added.