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If you’re planning on taking a trip this Memorial Day weekend, be prepared for lots of crowds

Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure  – May 23, 2019

According to a statement by AAA, nearly 43 million Americans will be taking a Memorial Day weekend getaway this year, an increase of 3.6 percent, or about 1.5 million people.

AAA forecasts that 3.25 million people (an increase of 4.8 percent compared to last year) will be traveling by plane, 1.9 million passengers (an increase of 3.8 percent) will be traveling by bus, train or cruise ship, and a whopping 37.6 million (a 3.5 percent increase) will be traveling by car.

So much road travel can come with risks, and AAA predicts it will be rescuing 353,000 road trippers this Memorial Day weekend thanks to dead batteries, flat tires, and so on.

However, though average gas prices this year have risen over 30 cents, amounting close to $3 per gallon (or more, depending on which part of the country you’re in), this doesn’t seem to dampen anyone’s travel plans. In fact, global transportation analytics company INRIX predicts travel delays for anyone taking a road trip could reach up to two or three times longer than usual, depending on which metro area you’re traveling from.

“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel in a statement.

If you are looking to avoid travel headaches on the road, INRIX and AAA suggest avoiding travel on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 in the late afternoon in places like Los Angeles. Travelers in San Francisco could see congestion on Saturday and Sunday, while Monday may be the worst time to travel for people in Seattle.

Though travelers may be paying more at the pump, some of that cost could be made up in other ways, like car rental prices and hotels. According to AAA, car rental prices have declined 7 percent over last year, with an average daily rate of $55. Mid-range hotels are between 2 and 3 percent cheaper this year, with an average nightly rate of $146 and $183, respectively, as well.

Out of the many domestic destinations around the U.S., travelers are looking to spend their holiday weekend in cities like Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Anaheim. Other popular destinations include Seattle, Phoenix, Anchorage, and San Francisco, according to AAA. Considering there are lots of free, exciting Memorial Day events like L.A. Zine Fest and Carnaval San Francisco, it’s no wonder people are flocking to these cities.