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The Best (and Worst) Times to Travel for Memorial Day Weekend

SmarterTravel

Taking a road trip this Memorial Day weekend? Expect a lot of company out there on the highway. AAA Travel has released their annual forecast for Memorial Day weekend traffic, and they are predicting a “significant rebound in the number of Americans planning to travel” for the long weekend. 

An estimated 37 million people are planning to travel 50 miles or more from home from May 27 through May 31—a 60 percent increase from Memorial Day 2020. 

However, this is still about 6 million fewer people planning to hit the road than had previously traveled for Memorial Day weekend 2019.

According to AAA, the top five most popular road trip destinations for Memorial Day weekend 2021 are: 

1.       Las Vegas, NV
2.       Orlando, FL
3.       Myrtle Beach, SC
4.       Denver, CO
5.       Nashville, TN

The Worst Times to Travel on Memorial Day Weekend

Planning to leave early to beat the Memorial Day traffic? You’ll probably need to leave earlier than you think. AAA forecasts that travelers will encounter the longest travel delays if they leave between 1pm and 7:45pm on Thursday, May 27th or between 2pm and 6:30pm on Friday, May 28th. 

Table of best and worst times to travel on Memorial Day 2021
AAA

The Best Times to Travel on Memorial Day Weekend

If you can, leaving in the morning or very early afternoon on Thursday or Friday will be your best bet for avoiding traffic. Delaying your trip slightly, and heading out early Saturday morning might also make your trip faster (and save you the cost of a night’s lodging as well). 

No matter when you choose to travel, be sure to follow all CDC travel guidelines as well as any regulations at your destination. 

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