AAA Expects a Busy Memorial Day Travel Weekend as Florida Gets Ready to Start the Summer

This week, AAA released its Memorial Day travel report and estimated that almost 2.2 million Floridians will travel more than 50 miles that weekend to kickoff summer.

“By the looks of this Memorial Day travel forecast, the summer travel season is off to a sizzlin’ start,” said Debbie Haas, the vice president of travel for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “People are more comfortable traveling now than any other time in the past two years, and travel bookings are a reflection of that. Reservations for flights, hotels, and cruises for Memorial Day weekend are twice as strong as last year’s holiday and that momentum will likely carry into the summer.”

AAA predicts nearly 2.2 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. That’s an 8.3 percent increase over 2021, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those from 2017.

Of the 2.19 million Floridians ready to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, 1.96 million ar expected to drive and more than 181,500 plan to fly while more than 43,000 will travel by train, bus or take a cruise.

Nationally, it’s a similar story. More than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend. The 8.3 percent increase from 2021 puts travel volumes in line with 2017 figures.

A recent AAA survey found that Floridians are more comfortable traveling now than any time during the past two years. That increased comfort is driving growth in all modes of transportation this year, especially air travel.

Florida air travel volumes are forecast to rise 28 percent from last year – the second-largest yearly increase in more than a decade. The 3 million Americans forecast to fly this Memorial Day weekend is just shy of 2019 levels. The number of Florida air travelers are off by just 1% from 2019.

“Surging demand and weather have challenged flight schedules since the beginning of the year,” Haas continued. “With the type of volume we anticipate going forward, we still recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Both are lifesavers if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”

Despite historically high gas prices, 90 percent of Memorial Day travelers plan to travel by car. Nearly 2 million Floridians are forecast to take a holiday road trip. That’s 5.4 percent more than last year’s holiday weekend.

Gas prices for Memorial Day are likely to set a new record high for the holiday. A combination of tightening global supplies and strengthening demand are the main culprits behind this unprecedented pain at the pump.

As of Tuesday, the average price for gasoline in Florida is $4.50 per gallon. Previously, Memorial Day travelers found pump price averages of $2.86 in 2021, $2.60 in 2019, and $2.91 in 2018. The highest average price recorded on Memorial Day was $3.93 per gallon in 2008.

“Coming out of this 2-year pandemic, Floridians are eager to travel again, and it doesn’t seem like record high gas prices or other inflationary pressures will stop them,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “Many may look at cost cutting measures to offset the added expense, like driving shorter distances, staying in a less expensive hotel, or spending less on shopping, dining and entertainment.”

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