Memorial Day travel predicted to be record-setting due to lower gas prices

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Whether you travel by air, train, or car, you will be in a crowd of Memorial Day travelers this year.

AAA East Central Director of Public Affairs Jim Garrity said travel difficulties over the last three years are largely gone and high gas prices are no longer a deterrent to travel.

Jim Garrity

“I think it’s fair to say travel is back, and the excitement for travel is back,” Garrity said. “People have been waiting for a long time in many cases to get out and make memories—like Memorial Day memories.”

Garrity acknowledged gas prices are still in the expensive range, but they are about $1 cheaper than last year, and he said elevated gas prices really no longer discourage travelers.

“More than 42 million, and that’s up about 7%, according to our AAA research from this time last year,” Garrity said. “When we look at it overall, it’s about the third most traveled Memorial Day we have on record.”

For people traveling by air, Garrity said to remember some of the airport nightmares that unfolded in recent months. He advised flyers to maintain contact with the airline in case there’s a delay, bring a book, and arrive early to the airport.

“The rule of thumb usually for domestic flights is that you want to be at the airport two hours early,” Garrity said. “It’s really not a bad idea, especially given everything we went through last year with flight delays and cancellations and so forth, to make sure you’re there maybe three hours earlier.”

The busiest days for travel for the Memorial Day weekend are projected to be Thursday and Friday, so Garrity said to plan accordingly. Allowing extra time for travel, maintaining a safe following distance, staying alert, and being cooperative with other motorists.

“There are going to be police out there working on people who are not obeying traffic laws,” Garrity said. “There are going to be roadside workers, and you want to make sure we’re mindful of all of these roadside employees and we’re moving over, and if we can’t move over, we’re slowing down.”

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