37M traveling this Memorial Day weekend, most by driving: AAA

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, May 28, 2021
37M traveling this Memorial Day weekend: AAA
Josh Einiger gets an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at operations in Newark Airport as travelers flock to destinations for Memorial Day weekend.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- There's a major rebound expected for travel this Memorial Day weekend.

AAA says that from Thursday through Monday, more than 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home.

That's an increase of 60% from last year when only 23 million traveled, the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.

Still, there are 6 million fewer than the pre-pandemic weekend back in 2019.

ALSO READ | NYC prepares for near-normal Memorial Day weekend

If you've had your vaccine, the CDC says you can enjoy this holiday like it's prepandemic times.

So how are people getting around? 90% will take to the roads. That's 34 million people! Gas prices are approximately $1.02 more than the year before.

Check your tires, fluids, and battery to avoid any potential breakdowns. The key to the getaway is getting an early start.

2.5 million, nearly six times more than last year, will take to the friendly skies. That's still 750,000 less than 2019.

At Newark Airport, there was an air of normalcy of a holiday weekend like any other.

"It's exciting. This has been a long road back, it's been a long 14, 16 months for us," said John Weigand, head of operations for United Airlines.

He gave Eyewitness News an exclusive look behind the scenes as his staff managed a crush of travel.

Planes were packed at peak times. Every gate was filled with United adding dozens of flights, in some cases, to places it's never flown.

237,000 Americans are opting to travel by other modes including buses and trains. Travel on buses and trains is still 88% lower than in 2019.

So where is everyone going? Orlando and Las Vegas are top Memorial Day destinations this year, both for AAA Travel bookings and TripTik road trip searches.

Other top driving destinations include Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Denver, Colorado, and Nashville, Tennessee

ALSO READ | Vaccine incentive: Young adults eligible for full scholarship to NY schools

Lauren Glassberg has more on a new vaccine incentive for young adults in New York.


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