AAA Carolinas projects an estimated 1,200,000 North Carolinians and 565,000 South Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend, the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005 and an increase of 2.7 percent from last year.
“Carolinians are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel thanks to the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Dave Parsons, AAA Carolinas President and CEO, “We urge drivers to stay safe on the roadways this weekend and to always remember to put the phone away and disconnect and drive.”
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The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
By the Numbers: Memorial Day Travel Forecast
1,573,200 Carolinians (1,076,200 North Carolinians and 497,000 South Carolinians) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
124,228 Carolinians (88,750 North Carolinians and 35,478 South Carolinians) are taking to the skies this Memorial Day, increasing air travel by 5.5 percent over last year.
66,553 Carolinians (34,784 North Carolinians and 31,769 South Carolinians), an increase 2.9 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88.1 percent) are still planning to hit the road. Automobile travel will grow by 2.4 percent this Memorial Day. The average price for a gallon of gas today in North Carolina is $2.20, 1 cent less than last year. South Carolina’s average is $2.04, which is 1 cent less than last year.
More Americans are planning to rent cars for their holiday road trips this year. AAA’s car rental bookings are 19 percent higher than last Memorial Day. According to Hertz, the busiest day for car rental pick-ups is expected to be Friday, May 26, based on last year’s data.
While road trips continue to reign supreme for Memorial Day, more Americans will fly, ride the train or bus, or take a cruise vacation compared to last year. Air travel is expected to increase 5.5 percent over last year. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 2.9 percent.
While the vast majority of travelers are planning a Memorial Day road trip, many other Carolinians will take advantage of the long holiday weekend and travel internationally.
The top driving destinations in the Carolinas for Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA Carolinas travel bookings, are: