More than 37 million Americans are expected to travel for Memorial Day weekend, according to a AAA Travel forecast, representing a significant increase from last year.
From Thursday, May 27, through Monday, May 31, tens of millions are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from their homes, according to the forecast. Of those who do travel, domestic getaways and road trips remain extremely popular with Las Vegas and Orlando taking the top two spots for both road trips as well as travel overall for the long weekend, AAA booking data showed.
And while many are expected to take to the skies — record air travel numbers have been recorded recently — AAA said the bulk of travelers (about 34 million) are expected to drive for their long weekend getaway.
"As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day," Paula Twidale, the senior vice president for AAA Travel, said in a statement. "This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions."
The forecast represents a 60% jump from 2020 when only 23 million people traveled, according to AAA, the lowest Memorial Day on record since the company began recording data in 2000. But while travel is certainly rebounding, AAA said the 2021 forecast is still about 6 million fewer travelers compared to 2019.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said fully-vaccinated Americans can travel domestically without the need to get tested or quarantine.
So far, 58.5% of Americans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 44.7% are considered fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Those who choose to fly for Memorial Day weekend will still be required to wear a mask as the Transportation Security Administration has extended a federal mask mandate until at least September.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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