AAA: Almost 2 Million New Englanders Will Travel over Memorial Day Weekend
RECORD Number Will DRIVE to their Holiday Destinations
Almost 2 million New Englanders are expected to get away for the Memorial Day weekend – and more of them will be driving to their holiday destinations than ever before. AAA projects 1.75 million New Englanders will be driving 50 miles or more to spend the long weekend with friends or family.
“Even though gas prices have been lingering around the $3 threshold, New Englanders are not deterred”, says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “If you are planning to hit the road this weekend, expect lots of company and plan accordingly".
More than 90% of the New Englanders getting away will be driving to their Memorial Day weekend destinations. However, air travel across New England is also up (for the fourth year in a row), with154,000 people taking to the skies, an increase of more than 4% over last year.
The local travel projections mirror the national travel projections for the most part. AAA is projecting that almost 43 million Americans will be getting away for the holiday, with most of them (88%) driving to their destinations.
Consistent with years past, AAA defines the Memorial Day holiday as the five-day travel period, beginning Thursday May 23 through Monday May 27th.
By the numbers: New England’s 2019 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast
- All New England travelers – more than 1.9 million, up 3.5% over last year
- Automobiles: 1.75 million - or 90% of all New England travelers - will hit the road this Memorial Day – the most ever - and an increase of 3.5% over last year.
- Planes: 154,000 New Englanders will travel by air, an increase of more than 4% percent over last year and the 4th consecutive year of air travel volume increases.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: 28,000 New Englanders will travel by train, bus or cruise, a slight increase over last year.
Drivers Beware: Worst Times to Hit the Road
For those who are planning to hit the road, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 – in the late afternoon - as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers trying to get a jump on the weekend. However, if you will be passing through the Boston area, INRIX predicts that Monday, May 27th, will be the most congested, with travel taking up to 3x longer than normal.
Gas prices not deterring travelers
Though the average price of gas across Connecticut has been lingering around the $3 threshold ($2.99 as of today), gas prices are actually about 15 cents lower than they were last year over the Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day travel projections suggest New Englanders will not be discouraged by the cost of filling up.
Lower hotel and car rental costs make up for expensive gas
While filling up may be more costly than road trippers would like, some of that additional expense can be made up with lower prices on car rentals and hotels this Memorial Day.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, car rental prices have declined 7% compared with last year, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2% and 3% cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, for AAA Two and Three Diamond-Rated properties.
Meanwhile, airfares are holding steady compared with last Memorial Day, for an average roundtrip price of $171.
Top Memorial Day travel destinations
Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas can expect an influx of travelers for the holiday. These are the top destinations in the U.S. this Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:
- Orlando, Florida
- New York, New York
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Anaheim, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Tampa, Florida
- San Francisco, California
For those travelers planning an international vacation for Memorial Day, Europe is the destination of choice. Rome, London, Dublin and Paris are the most popular locales for international vacations this Memorial Day weekend, with Vancouver, Canada, rounding out the top five.
AAA to rescue thousands of motorists - just in Greater Hartford area alone
Last year, AAA responded to more than 3500 calls for Emergency Roadside Service over the Memorial Day weekend - just in the Greater Hartford area alone. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.
Road Trip Ready
While some maintenance and repair tasks are best left to certified automotive technicians, there are several basic items motorists can easily check themselves between trips to their auto repair facility, including the following:
Tire Pressure – Check and adjust tire pressure, including the spare. Always inflate tires to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings—not the maximum pressure molded on the side of the tire.
Tire Tread – Check the tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove with Washington’s head facing outward. The tread should cover part of Washington’s head. If any of the area above Washington’s head is visible, it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
Battery – Have your battery checked, especially if it is over three years old. Summer heat breaks down the battery internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on vehicle’s battery terminals.
Windshield Wiper Blades – If wiper blades are worn, cracked or rigid with age, they will not adequately remove rain, grime and other debris that can obscure driver vision. If the wiper blades are sufficiently deteriorated, the metal wiper blade frame could contact and permanently damage the windshield.
Travel Planning Resources
AAA recommends motorists have their vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as a local AAA Car Care Center or one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Travelers cana viisit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
Download the AAA Mobile app before Memorial Day road trips
Before heading out on a road trip this Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find nearly 59,000 AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained inspectors to evaluate each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Inspected & Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @AAAHartfordNews