Economy

Memorial Day Travel Expected to Surge to 37 Million People

The COVID-19 pandemic nearly ruined the travel industry. It also cut down auto traffic as people worked from home. People who normally used vacation time to travel on airplanes, trains and buses and to stay at resorts, on cruise ships and at hotels disappeared because of the fear of infection and even death. Vaccinations, which have now reached over a third of America’s adult population, have begun to open up the country. Many restaurants have opened. Hotels have started to host guests again. Long lines have reappeared at some airports.

AAA tracks holiday travel. Over the Memorial Day weekend (Thursday, May 27, through Monday, May 31), the number of travelers is expected to rise 60% from last year. The research, conducted by IHS Markit, defines travel as when people go more than 50 miles from their homes. The total number of people who will travel over Memorial Day this year will be over 37 million.

Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel commented: “As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day.” Consumer confidence has risen throughout 2021, and many incomes have ballooned, in some cases because of government aid.

The AAA’s experts say that their 2021 forecast is less certain than in past years because a surge in the disease in late May could erode the total. The AAA prediction of 37.1 million travelers has been broken out by means of transportation. Auto travel should hit 34.4 million, up from 22.6 million last year. Air travel is expected to reach 2.5 million, up from 363,000 last year. Travel by bus, train and cruise ship is expected to hit 237,000, while it was 185,000 last year. The cruise line business remains largely shuttered.

The 2021 numbers will be sharply below those from 2019, when the total number of travelers was 42.8 million for the same period.

AAA also listed the most popular destination for road trips. Leading the list is Las Vegas, which was largely closed for a year. This is followed by theme park destination Orlando and rounded out by seaside destination of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and then Denver and Nashville.

Click here to read about the most beautiful places to visit in the United States.