Memorial Day Holiday Travel to Rebound

Written by on May 11, 2021

AAA predicts nearly 57% more Ohioans will travel this year than last year

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 11, 2021)—AAA Travel expects a significant rebound in travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend. From May 27-31, more than 37 million Americans (nearly 1.7 million Ohioans) are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. That’s an increase of 60% nationally (nearly 57% in Ohio) from last year when only 23 million Americans (just over 900,000 Ohioans) traveled, the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.

The expected strong increase from last year’s holiday, which fell during the early phase of the pandemic, still represents 13%—or nearly 6 million—fewer travelers than in 2019 nationally. In Ohio, travel is expected to be nearly 14%, or about 229,000 travelers, below 2019 numbers.

COVID-19 and Memorial Day Travel:

“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions.”

AAA urges those who choose to travel this year to exercise caution and take measures to protect themselves and others, as the pandemic continues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its domestic travel guidance to state that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves, while taking proper precautions. This is contributing to the expected rise in Memorial Day travel.

It’s important to note that the actual number of holiday travelers could fluctuate as we approach Memorial Day. If there is an increase in reported cases attributed to new COVID-19 variants, some people may decide to stay home, while others may note the strong progress in vaccinations and make last-minute decisions to travel.

AAA recommends working with a travel agent, who can help if you need to make any last-minute changes to travel plans and to explore travel insurance options and help you plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort level.

Huge Increase in Air Travel, but Most Memorial Day Travelers to Take Road Trips:
Auto travel will remain the dominant form of transportation this Memorial Day weekend.

.92% of American travelers (95% of Ohio travelers) will drive to their destinations this Memorial Day.

.That’s 34 million Americans (nearly 1.36 million Ohioans) planning Memorial Day road trips.

.This is 52% higher than 2020, but still 9% less than 2019, both nationally and in Ohio.

.INRIX predicts drivers will encounter the longest travel delays before the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday, May 27 and Friday, May 28.

.AAA expects to rescue more than 468,000 Americans at the roadside this Memorial Day weekend.

Before hitting the road, AAA reminds motorists to ensure their vehicle is ready and encourages them to plan their route in advance. Keep in mind, some local and state travel restrictions still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map: and for the latest information to help plan their trip.

After a historically low year in 2020, air travel is rebounding, but remains lower than pre-pandemic levels.

.Nearly 2.5 million Americans (nearly 61,000 Ohioans) will board planes this Memorial Day weekend.

.This is nearly six times (+577% nationally and +564% in Ohio) more than last year.

.Yet, these projections are still 23% lower (30% lower in Ohio) than 2019 Memorial Day weekend air travel numbers.

Keep in mind, whether you are vaccinated or not, masks are still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

Travel Booking Trends:

AAA Travel has noted significant recent increases in online traffic and bookings on, particularly for hotels and car rentals, heading into the summer travel season. AAA booking data reveal that domestic travel and road trips remain the biggest drivers of travel recovery in the near term.

Top Memorial Day travel destinations include:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Honolulu, HI
  4. Anchorage, AK
  5. Colorado Springs, CO

Many Ohioans are booking local vacations to Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Other popular domestic destinations for Ohio travelers include Nashville, TN; Indianapolis, IN; and Pittsburgh PA. AAA travel agents are also reporting a strong interest in National Parks and RV vacations.

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