AAA: Memorial Day forecast points to busy summer 2022 travel season

travel vacation
(© Tomasz Zajda –

The unofficial start to summer will be a busy one this year as AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend.

This is an increase of 8.3 percent over 2021, bringing travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. Air travel continues to rebound, up 25 percent over last year, the second-largest increase since 2010. With volumes closing in on pre-pandemic levels, AAA urges travelers to book now and remember flexibility is key this Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”

Air travel volume, which began to rally last Thanksgiving, will hit levels just shy of 2019 with 3 million people expected to take to the skies this Memorial Day weekend. In fact, the percentage of people traveling by air will surpass 2019 levels with 7.7 percent of travelers choosing air travel as their preferred mode (it was 7.5 percent in 2019)

2022 Memorial Day Holiday Travelers

Total Automobile Air Other

(Bus, Train, Cruise)

2022 (Forecast) 39.2M 34.9M 3.01M 1.33M
2021 (Actual) 36.2M 33.4M 2.41M 440,000
2019 (Actual) 42.8M 37.6M 3.22M 1.90M
Change (2019 to 2022) -8.2% -7.3% -6.3% -29.6%
Change (2021 to 2022) 8.3% 4.6% 25% 199.9%

“Air travel has faced several challenges since the beginning of the year,” continued Dean. “With the type of volume we anticipate, we continue to recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Both are a lifesaver if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”


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