Washington residents plan road trips, flights to warmer places
The unofficial start to summer will be busy as AAA predicts 39.2 million people, 2.5 percent of them from Washington, will travel 50 miles or more from home for Memorial Day Weekend. Compared to 2021, this is an eight percent increase in travel volumes nationwide, nine percent for Washington, and forecasts a summer filled with trips and vacations.
“Memorial Day is always a good indicator of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Michelle Glass, vice president of travel for AAA Washington. “Based on these projections, people who are more than ready to take overdue vacations plan to do so in the coming months.”
Top Memorial Day Destinations
The revival of cruises plays a prominent role in AAA’s list of the top Memorial Day destinations. The first three are located in or next to major ports where these big ships dock.
- Orlando, FL
- Seattle, WA
- Miami, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Anaheim, CA
- New York, NY
- Denver, CO
- Anchorage, AK
- Boston, MA
- Honolulu, HI
While these tourists head for Seattle and set sail, AAA Washington booking data shows that local travelers plan to discover the Pacific Northwest by car and fly to warmer places.
|Top Road Trip Destinations||Top Flight/Hotel Destinations|
|1. Washington||1. California, various cities|
|2. Oregon||2. Phoenix, AZ|
|3. California||3. Anchorage, AK|
|4. Montana||4. Miami, FL|
|5. Idaho||5. Hawaii, multiple islands|
|Source: AAA Washington Booking Data|
Modes of Travel
Cars: 34.9 million Americans, 814,511 Washingtonians, will travel by car, an increase from last year of 4.6% and 4%, respectively.
Planes: With three million Americans expected to fly to their destinations, air travel will nearly hit 2019 Memorial Day volumes. The number of Washingtonians projected to reach their destinations by air — 102,875 — exceeds 2019 totals.
Other: Compared to 2021, the number of people traveling by trains, buses and cruise ships should triple nationwide and double in Washington yet fall short of 2019 numbers by 25%.
Road Trips Lead the Way
Despite the spring’s historic gas prices, road trips remain the most popular way for people to reach their Memorial Day destinations. Of the 39.2 million people projected to travel from Thursday, May 26 through Memorial Day, AAA expects 89 percent will road-trip, 84 percent of Washington’s 974,000 travelers.
But before you hit the road, AAA has some helpful tips and tricks to make your trip enjoyable and safe:
- Download the Auto Club App to your phone and use the digital TripTik to find the lowest gas prices and EV charging stations along your route. Make sure to check out our online road trip guide.
- Make sure your car is serviced. Have key components and systems checked, complete scheduled vehicle maintenance and restock your emergency kit.
- Avoid sitting in traffic. AAA suggests drivers set out early or delay departures and miss peak traffic times. INRIX predicts drivers will encounter the longest travel delays before the holiday weekend, particularly Thursday and Friday afternoons.
|Day||Worst Time||Best Time|
|Thursday||1:00 – 8:00 pm||Before 6:00 am or After 9:00 pm|
|Friday||12:00 – 7:00 pm||Before 7:00 am or After 9:00 pm|
|Saturday||1:00 – 6:00 pm||Before 10:00 am|
|Sunday||1:00 – 4:00 pm||Before 10:00 am|
|Monday||1:00 – 4:00 pm||Before 11:00 am|
If you’re heading in to or out of Seattle, avoid Thursday evening. INRIX predicts your travel time on I-5 south between Federal Way and Tacoma to more than double.
As we head into the summer travel season and you begin to plan your next trip, AAA reminds you to think about working with a travel agent. These industry experts come with many resources to help plan and organize a trip that fits your individual needs and budget, from tickets to travel insurance. If something goes wrong, your travel agent becomes your advocate – they will handle the logistics of changing or re-booking reservations.