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Memorial Day 2023 is expected to be the third busiest on record. AAA projects 42.3 million Americans (12.6% of the population) will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. This is an increase of 7% over 2022. In all, 2.7 million more people will travel for the unofficial start of summer compared to last year, a sign of a busy summer travel season ahead.
In the Pacific Region, Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), 7.3 million people (13.7% of the population) are expected to travel, an 8.4% increase compared to 2022.
About 578,000 Oregonians will travel over the long weekend. The Memorial Day travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 through Monday, May 29.
“Memorial Day 2023 will likely be one for the record books. Despite inflation, more Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier. Air travel in particular is seeing a significant bump, even with higher airfare. AAA expects travel will remain robust all summer long,” says Doreen Loofburrow, Senior Vice President of Travel at AAA Oregon/Idaho.
While nearly 88% of Memorial Day travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, air travel is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, up 11% over last year. In all, 8% of Memorial Day travelers will fly for the holiday.
AAA urges travelers to book now and be as flexible as possible when planning Memorial Day and summer getaways. In the past, travelers might have been able to save when booking at the last minute, but that’s unlikely this year due to limited capacity.
“Flights, accommodations, rental cars, camping, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand. If you haven’t booked yet, do it as soon as possible. Being flexible is key. Look to travel on off-peak days and times, pick a hidden gem off the beaten path, or consider taking a cruise or staying at an all-inclusive resort to limit the cost of things like rental cars, and a la carte dining and entertainment,” adds Loofburrow.
“Memorial Day 2023 is expected to be the third busiest since the year 2000 when AAA started tracking holiday travel. This year’s travel volume lags only behind 2005 and 2019,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Travel agents, travel insurance are travel essentials:
AAA recommends working with a travel agent and considering travel insurance options. “A travel agent is an expert on the destinations you’ll be visiting and can help you plan a trip that meets your needs and budget. They’ve been there, done that and can help you get the most out of your travel dollars. And if something goes wrong or you need to make last-minute changes, your travel agent becomes your advocate,” says Loofburrow.
AAA strongly recommends travel insurance to cover unexpected delays or trip interruptions. Travel insurance provides a safety net should something unexpected happen ahead of or during your trip. Travel agents can also advise on what travel insurance policy makes the most sense for your trip.
Visit AAA.com/travel or call (800) 529-3222 to reach a AAA travel agent.