augusta free press news

AAA: Memorial Day holiday weekend travel numbers likely to set record low

aaaLast year, AAA Mid-Atlantic forecast slightly more than a million Virginia residents would travel for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the traditional, unofficial kick-off to the summer travel season.

This year will look much, much different.

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19.

With social distancing, safer-at-home recommendations, and Centers for Disease Control guidelines urging Americans to avoid non-essential travel, the 2020 Memorial Day weekend will likely set a record low.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Martha Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Much of Virginia, except for Northern Virginia, Accomack County and the City of Richmond, have moved into Phase One of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Under the “Forward Virginia” plan, private campgrounds and Virginia State Parks can re-open with limited camping, and Virginia Beach is open for recreation starting today under social distancing guidelines.

“With the easing of restrictions across much of the commonwealth, some Virginia families may be looking to take a short trip for the Memorial Day holiday after spending many weeks at home during the quarantine,” Meade said.

Ahead of their trip, travelers should check-in with where they are staying to find out if they’re open and what amenities are available under the current restrictions.

Travelers also need to research the social distancing rules and restrictions for areas along their route and for their destination so there are no surprises on the road.