AAA Projects More Than 550,000 Oklahoma Residents Will Travel over Memorial Day Weekend
Oklahoma City — AAA Oklahoma is projecting that more than 550,000 Oklahoma residents will travel a distance of 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day Weekend. As usual, the large majority will be driving to their destinations, though air travel and travel by other modes of transportation are both up significantly compared to last year.
More than 80% of travelers — or almost 455,000 Oklahoma residents — will hit the road for the holiday, up over 5% from last year.
“Expect Memorial Day travel to be as busy as pre-pandemic levels on roads, airports, train stations and bus depots,” says Rylie Mansuetti, spokesperson for AAA Oklahoma.
“Travelers should plan accordingly to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip.”
Despite air travelers paying more this year, AAA data shows a 40% increase in airfare to this year’s top destinations.
Air travel is up 7% from Memorial Day weekend last year. AAA projects that more than 60,000 Oklahomans will fly. And, travel by other modes of transportation, which was slow to recover from the pandemic, is up over 30% over last year, with more than 40,000 Oklahoma residents training, busing, or cruising to their holiday destinations.
AAA National Travel Projections
The increase in the number of Oklahoma residents traveling over the Memorial Day holiday mirrors national projections.
From May 26 through May 30, more than 42 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of more than seven percent over last year.
And, most of those traveling – more than 37 million – will be hitting the road.
More than 3 million will be flying to their destinations, an increase of 11% over last year – and five percent higher than 2019.
And, the most significant increase over last year is the number of holiday travelers going by train, bus or cruise line – 1.8 million, which is an increase of over 20% over last year.
AAA Tips for Travelers
“Whether you will be driving, flying or taking another mode of transportation over the holiday weekend, planning ahead is key to ensuring a smooth travel experience,” Mansuetti adds.
* Ensure your vehicle is road-ready: For the half a million Oklahomans planning to hit the road, planning should include making sure your vehicle is road-trip ready. AAA recommends a full vehicle inspection. Make an appointment today for a free bumper-to-bumper check-up at a AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel center, or find a trusted mechanic at any AAA Approved Auto Repair Shop. Whether you choose to DIY or visit a professional, check your battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels are all working properly before you leave.
* Make sure your AAA membership is up to date: AAA is preparing for an incredibly hectic Memorial Day weekend, as our dedicated Emergency Roadside Service teams are bracing themselves for a significant surge in activity. In Oklahoma alone, AAA anticipates receiving and responding to over 5,500 assistance requests from Thursday through Monday.
* Pack a summer emergency kit: Should you experience a breakdown, it is key to have everything on hand to keep you and your passengers safe and comfortable while waiting for help to arrive. The emergency kit should include a fully charged cellphone, additional cellphone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit, flare or flashlight with extra batteries so you can see and be seen, a few extra blankets, water, snacks and extra medicines.
* Travel off-peak: For those hitting the road, expect Thursday and Friday to be peak traffic days.
* Check your flight status before leaving for the airport: Avoid wasting your time at the airport. Download the airline app and check your flight status before leaving.
* I Get there early: The airports will be crowded. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.
* Understand expectations: Review TSA guidelines for security and pack accordingly.
* If possible, travel off-peak: Based on AAA booking data, Thursday is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the Memorial Day travel period with Monday being the lightest.
All modes of transportation
* Consider Travel Insurance: Hope for the best but plan for the unexpected. Talk to a trusted travel advisor about travel insurance to cover you if your weekend getaway does not work out as planned.
* Book everything in advance: Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability will be limited. Prices are already skewing higher and with increasing demand, finding last-minute deals is unlikely.
* Be Flexible and Patient: Whether you are driving, flying or using another mode of transportation, expect crowds, expect delays and plan accordingly. Staffing in hotels and restaurants at airports continues to be a challenge. Pack your patience.
* Big Cities and Beaches are Top Destinations
AAA booking data for Memorial Day weekend shows tourist hotspots like Orlando, New York City, and Las Vegas are top domestic destinations. Cruise port cities in Florida and Alaska, as well as Seattle, are high on the list given the 50% increase in domestic cruise bookings compared to last year. Other popular U.S. cities this Memorial Day include Denver, Boston, Anaheim, and Canton, Ohio – home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Holiday Forecast Methodology:
In cooperation with AAA, S&P Global Market Intelligence developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment, output, household net worth, asset prices including stock indices, interest rates, housing market indicators, and variables related to travel and tourism including gasoline prices, airline travel, and hotel stays. AAA and S&P Global Market Intelligence have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000.
Historical travel volume estimates come from DK SHIFFLET’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM. The PERFORMANCE/MonitorSM is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK SHIFFLET contacts over 50,000 U.S. households each month to obtain detailed travel data, resulting in the unique ability to estimate visitor volume and spending, identify trends, and forecast U.S. travel behavior —- all after the trips have been taken.
The travel forecast is reported in person trips. In particular, AAA and SPGMI forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of April 17, 2023.
Note: AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com. Pat McGuigan, founder and publisher of CapitolBeatOK.com, prepared this story for posting. CapitolBeatOK.com is an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news service based in Oklahoma City.