Traveling on Memorial Day? Leave Early, Warns AAA

May 15, 2019, 1:35 PM UTC

If Memorial Day traffic projections are any indicator, the summer vacation season is going to be a crowded one.

AAA predicts nearly 43 million Americans will be on the road for Memorial Day, considered the unofficial start to summer. That’s a 3.6% increase over last year and the second highest travel volume since AAA began keeping records in 2000.

That increase is slightly surprising, given the recent rise in gas prices. The national average per gallon is nearing $3 and isn’t expected to decline in the immediate future (especially after Saudi Arabia reported a “sabotage attack” against pipeline infrastructure earlier this week).

“When gas prices are higher, travelers may shorten the distance of a road trip, eat out less or look for free activities,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano in a statement. “But, overall, prices are very similar to this time last year and, like then, they aren’t letting that deter them from taking summer road trips.”

Orlando, New York and Las Vegas are expected to be the top destinations for people looking to get out of town over the long weekend. Most of the travelers—some 37.6 million—will be driving to and from their destination, says AAA. Airplanes will see a 4.8% boost with 3.25 million passengers.

Worst travel days and times for Memorial Day 2019

Atlanta – May 23 between 4:30-6:30pm

New York City – May 23 between 4:45-6:45pm

Boston – May 27 between 3:45-5:45pm

Houston – May 26 between 2:15-4:15pm

Detroit – May 24 between 2:30-4:30pm

Seattle – May 27 between 3:30-5:30pm

Chicago – May 24 between 3:30-5:30pm

Los Angeles – May 24 between 4:30-6:30pm

San Francisco – May 25 between 1-3pm

Washington, DC – May 27 between 3:45-5:45pm