AAA Logo
service truck Roadside Assistance | location Find a Store

Thanks to Cruises, Seattle #2 Memorial Day Destination

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.

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Miami, FL
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. Anaheim, CA
  6. New York, NY
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Anchorage, AK
  9. Boston, MA 
  10. 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 DestinationsTop Flight/Hotel Destinations
1. Washington1. California, various cities
2. Oregon2. Phoenix, AZ
3. California3. Anchorage, AK
4. Montana4. Miami, FL
5. Idaho5. 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.
DayWorst TimeBest Time
Thursday1:00 – 8:00 pmBefore 6:00 am or After 9:00 pm
Friday12:00 – 7:00 pmBefore 7:00 am or After 9:00 pm
Saturday1:00 – 6:00 pmBefore 10:00 am
Sunday1:00 – 4:00 pmBefore 10:00 am
Monday1:00 – 4:00 pmBefore 11:00 am
Source: INRIX

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.

Stress-Free Travel

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.


INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. INRIX’s partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.

About AAA Washington:

AAA Washington was established in 1904 by 10 prominent Seattleites determined to champion the betterment of motoring conditions and laws, the preservation of Washington state’s natural beauty and the promotion of Washington as an unrivaled tourist destination. Nearly 120 years later, the club continues to pursue these on behalf of its 1.2 million members. 

Members of AAA Washington receive exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts on hotels and rental cars, comprehensive insurance options, and personalized trip planning. AAA Washington was named a Best Place to Work by Puget Sound Business Journal and voted the best Travel/Tourism Company by 425 Business readers in 2023, and AAA was named one of the most trusted travel and automotive brands in the U.S. Additional information is available through the company’s Washington and northern Idaho stores and at 

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit

Media Contact

Fearey o/b/o AAA Washington 

Twitter: @AAA_Washington
Facebook: AAA Washington
Instagram: aaawashington

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

Share this post

Related Stories

Discover More

AAA Travel Logo

Find more ways to get the most out of your travel experience