Brace yourselves, travelers: This summer could be ‘one for the record books'

This Memorial Day weekend is expected to be busier than last year's at airports, according to the AAA travel forecast.

Brace yourselves, travelers: This summer could be ‘one for the record books'

Subscribe to Unlocking the World - CNN Travel's Weekly Newsletter. Find out the latest in travel, aviation, food, and drink.


Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer travel in the United States, is expected to be very busy. According to AAA's travel forecast, airports are likely to be more crowded than they were in 2019.

The group that plans trips and automobiles expects 42,3 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend. This is a 7% rise over 2022, or 2.7 more people. The group believes that this is a good sign for travelers in the summer.

Paula Twidale said in a press release that 'despite inflation more Americans are booking trips earlier and planning them sooner'. This summer's travel season may be one to remember, especially in airports.

Air travel will be up 11% compared to last year with 3.4 millions people flying over the holiday weekend. This is an increase of 5.4% or 170,000 air travelers over the 2019 figures.

AAA reports that this Memorial Day weekend may be the busiest airport weekend since 2005.

The summer of last year was difficult for air travelers, and the holidays in winter were also plagued by cancellations and delays.

Aixa Diaz, AAA spokesperson, told CNN's Pete Muntean that there are many factors beyond the control of travelers, including weather, airline operations and air traffic control staffing.

Diaz says that travelers aren't deterred from booking because of the possible hassles.

Plan ahead, and make sure you have Plan Bs and Plan Cs ready. You never know when delays or cancellations may occur at the airport.

Diaz says that the first flight of the day is more likely to be disrupted less than later flights. It can be helpful to not check a bag.

The weekend will be the third-busiest Memorial Day holiday since 2000. The number of travelers expected is only 1% lower than 2019 levels.

Over the long holiday weekend, most travelers will drive to their destination. Over 37 million Americans are expected to take road trips, which is an increase of 6% compared to last year.

Gas prices are down this year compared to last year's time, but the number of car travelers is expected to drop by half a million compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The national average for regular gasoline was $3.542, compared to $4.418 one year ago.

What is the worst time of the weekend to drive? Diaz stated that Friday afternoon between 3 pm and 6 pm was the worst time to be on the road. The worst traffic will occur on Monday afternoon between noon and three p.m.