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Ragina C. Ali
Public Relations Manager, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361152)
C: (443) 465-5020


GRASONVILLE, MD (Wednesday, May 22, 2024) –– AAA projects an estimated 861,000 Marylanders plan to getaway for the Memorial Day weekend, a 2.7% increase over last year, and the third highest number of Memorial Day weekend travelers since 2000, when AAA began tracking holiday travel. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

This year’s forecast is still nearly 6% less than the state’s all-time high, which was in 2019, when more than 911,000 Marylanders travelled for the holiday.


2024 AAA Memorial Day Holiday Forecast - Maryland Travelers


Total Travel




(Bus, Train, Cruise)

2024 (Forecast)





2023 (Actual)





2019 (Actual)





% Change (2023 to 2024)





% Change (2019 to 2024)






“It appears Maryland residents are ready to pack up the car, or catch a flight, bus or train to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday weekend,” said Ragina Cooper Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan joined Maryland Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, AAA, law enforcement officials and regional traffic safety partners today to kick off the unofficial start to the summer vacation season.

The annual event, which was held near the water, at Bridges Restaurant in Grasonville, highlighted AAA travel projections, as well as new traffic safety legislation, roadway projects and summer traffic safety enforcement efforts.

Ocean City is looking forward to the start of summer this Memorial Day holiday weekend. There is no better place to spend time off this summer than Ocean City, and we have so many new exciting events and features this year for our visitors to enjoy,” commented Mayor Meehan. “We ask everyone to please walk smart, drive smart and bike smart while you visit us.”


Automobile Travel Represents Nearly 90%

AAA is expecting an increase in all travel modes this holiday, but, the vast majority of travelers plan to drive. “Traveling by car remains appealing for many, due to the convenience and flexibility it provides, despite slightly higher gas prices this year,” said Ali.  Approximately 761,000 – 88% of Maryland travelers – are expected to hit the roads, an increase of nearly 3% from last year’s holiday, and the third highest travel volume, by car for the holiday, on record.


Best and Worst Times to Travel by Car


Worst Travel Time

Best Travel Time

Thu, May 23

12:00 - 6: 00 PM

Before 11 AM, After 7PM

Fri, May 24

12:00 - 7:00 PM

Before 11AM, After 8 PM

Sat, May 25

2:00 - 5:00 PM

Before 1 PM, After 6 PM

Sun, May 26

3:00 - 7:00 PM

Before 1 PM

Mon, May 27

3:00 - 7:00 PM

After 7 PM


“While the average price of gas across Maryland has dropped about 20 cents in the past month, gas prices remain approximately 8 cents higher than last year at this time,” Ali added.

As of Tuesday, Maryland’s average price for a gallon of unleaded was $3.55, two cents less than last week, and down 21 cents from last month.


Air Travel Continues To Rebound

Airports are bracing for a spike in travelers. More than 72,000 Maryland travelers are expected to fly to their holiday destinations this Memorial Day, a nearly 2% increase compared to last year, accounting for 8% of those traveling and representing the second highest travel volume by air.

AAA reminds those flying to their holiday destinations to:

  • Check your flight status before leaving for the airport: Don’t make a wasted trip. Download the airline app and check your flight status before setting out.
  • Get there early: Airports will be crowded. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
  • Understand expectations: Review TSA guidelines for getting through security and pack accordingly. To learn more about which airports have the longest wait times for security visit


Travel by Other Modes Continues Growth

The number of Maryland travelers opting to take other modes continues to grow. Nearly 28,000 are anticipated to take other modes of transportation, including cruises, buses and trains, representing the largest increase (nearly 3.5%). “This category took the biggest hit during the pandemic with fewer people taking public transportation or not cruising at all,” Ali said. “Travel demand - especially for cruises has been soaring, and long holiday weekends create the perfect window for getaways.”


National Holiday Outlook

Nationally, AAA predicts nearly 44 million people will travel 50 or more miles for the holiday, which is very close to the record setting number of Memorial Day travelers back in 2005.

  • Of those travelers, about 87% are expected to drive to their destinations. That amounts to 38.4 million people hitting the roads which would set a new record for the holiday.
  • Airports across the U.S. are expected to be the busiest they’ve been for the holiday in 19 years with 3.5 million taking to the skies for a getaway.
  • Nearly two million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation for the long holiday weekend (bus, train, cruise).  That’s 5.5% higher than last year and up nearly 3% from the pre-pandemic days of 2019.


Traffic Safety

The Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police and law enforcement officers across the region will be out patrolling the highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“As we begin the summer travel and highway construction seasons, the Moore-Miller administration is committed to reducing traffic fatalities and protecting our roadway workers,” said Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller. “The coordinated initiatives and enforcement measures launched by the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland State Police are aimed at changing driver behavior to slow down and drive safely.”

Traffic safety partners urged motorists to take responsibility while driving to keep themselves, their passengers and others on the road safe.  Drivers and passengers are reminded to always buckle up.  “The routine wearing of seatbelts is the single most effective measure to reduce crash-related deaths and injuries,” said Kurt Erickson, President of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP).

 “Thousands of drivers will cross the Bay Bridge this Memorial Day Weekend, and the MDTA Police’s priority is for drivers to cross the bridge safely,” said Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police Chief, Colonel Joseph F. Scott. “Traffic safety is a team effort, and we must all do our part.”

Forecast Methodology:

In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence (SPGMI) developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from SPGMI’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment, output, household net worth, asset prices, including stock indices, interest rates, housing market indicators, and variables related to travel and tourism, including gasoline prices, airline travel, and hotel stays. AAA and SPGMI have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000. 

Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM. The PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 U.S. households each month to obtain detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spending, identify trends, and forecast U.S. travel behavior, all after the trips have been taken.

The travel forecast is reported in person-trips. In particular, AAA and SPGMI forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of April 15, 2024.


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