AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast:

Most Road Trips
Since 2005

AAA’s Thanksgiving Travel Forecast:

Roads Will Be Busy This Year

Summer doesn’t technically begin until June 20, but Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, and that’s almost as good. The federal holiday marks the start of summer vacation and road trip season for millions of Americans, and AAA Travel is predicting—thanks to continued modest economic growth and relatively low gas prices—that this year’s Memorial Day will be the busiest since 2005. That’s because they’re forecasting that more than 39 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more between May 25 and 29.


Forecast by the Numbers

 

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34.6 million
Travelers by automobile

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2.9 million
Travelers by plane

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1.7 million
Travelers by train, bus, or other

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$2.33
National average gas price
for regular as of May 16

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+1 million
Projected increase in travelers
in 2017 vs. 2016

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3 in a row
Years that travel volume
will have increased


Where the Numbers Come From

 

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Economy continues to do well
Overall economic growth has been strong, with unemployment approaching historic lows.

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Consumers feel optimistic
Household net worth has gone up sharply, and consumer sentiment is near a 13-year high.

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Gas prices inch up
The national average for a gallon of regular is around $2.33, which is 7 cents more than last year.


What It Means For You

 

Road tripping in the family car is the classic method of Memorial Day travel, and with gas prices remaining low, that’s not expected to change this year. AAA Travel predicts that 34.6 million automobile travelers will account for 88 percent of all long-distance Memorial Day weekend trips.

With so many cars on the road, it’s no surprise that the Memorial Day weekend is a busy time for AAA’s Roadside Assistance. AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Memorial Day weekend. Want to avoid becoming one of them? Here’s what you can do:

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Get your battery checked. Dead batteries are one of the primary reasons for Roadside Assistance requests. If your car struggles to start, or your battery is more than three years old, don’t risk getting stranded. One easy way to have it tested is with AAA Battery Service, which will come directly to you. Learn more about AAA Battery Service.

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Make sure your tires are prepared, too. Flat tires are another common reason for Roadside Assistance calls. Unusual wear patterns, improper inflation, or a hidden puncture can lead to more serious problems later, and having a flat or other tire failure in the middle of a long trip with the whole family is no fun.
Tips on how to take care of your tires.

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Keep your car keys on you, and bring an extra set. Lockouts make up a substantial portion of calls, even though wireless “smart key” technology has become ubiquitous. Easy ways to avoid lockouts include replacing your smart key’s battery every two years, keeping it in your pocket (versus somewhere in the car) and, if traveling with your spouse or another adult, having them bring a spare key.

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Get a checkup for your car, just in case. While batteries and tires are the most common mechanical reasons for Roadside Assistance calls, AAA also tows plenty of vehicles that suffer unforeseen engine, transmission, and brake problems. An inspection at a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility is one way to help find issues that could potentially spoil your trip later. Find an Approved Auto Repair facility near you.

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Download the Auto Club App. Whether you’re looking to map a route, find low gas prices, get AAA discounts, make travel arrangements, request Roadside Assistance, or find an Approved Auto Repair facility, the Auto Club App makes it simple. You can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond-rated hotels and restaurants via the app’s TripTik® Travel Planner. Learn more about the Auto Club App.


Information taken from “AAA: Memorial Day Travel at Highest Level Since 2005,” AAA Public Affairs, May 17, 2017; and “Roadside Breakdowns Preventable with Proper Maintenance, Finds AAA,” AAA Public Affairs, October 8, 2015.