Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and this year, millions of people are expected to travel for the holiday.

New data from AAA Northeast estimate that nearly 44 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during Memorial Day weekend. That’s an increase of 4% since last year and surpasses pre-pandemic travel numbers.

While AAA predicts an uptick in all modes of transportation for Memorial Day, including air travel and trains, road trips could set a new record in 2024. The motor club estimates that 38.4 million people will travel by car during Memorial Day weekend, the highest number since AAA began collecting travel data in 2000.

Memorial Day weekend travel forecast 2024

Image Credit: AAA Newsroom

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Written by:
Elizabeth Rivelli
Contributing Researcher
Elizabeth Rivelli is a freelance writer who covers insurance. Her areas of expertise are life insurance, car insurance, property insurance and health insurance. Elizabeth has appeared in dozens of online publications, including Investopedia, CNET and Bankrate. She has also written for several insurance companies.
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Edited by:
Laura Longero
Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Where travelers are heading on Memorial Day

The most popular travel destinations this Memorial Day weekend are places with warm, sunny weather. AAA booking data show that many travelers are heading to cities with theme parks and popular entertainment hotspots like Orlando, New York City, Las Vegas and Southern California.

Memorial Day weekend is also a popular time for a cruise. According to AAA, travelers will be flocking to destinations like Seattle, Anchorage and British Columbia, where many Alaskan cruises depart from. Similarly, cruise ports in Florida, like Miami and Port Canaveral are expected to be bustling with cruisers this Memorial Day.

For international travel, AAA found that Europe is expected to be the most popular destination for Americans. Cities like Rome, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Athens, Edinburgh and Amsterdam will likely see an influx of travelers from the U.S. over the long weekend.

Staying safe during your summer travels

If you’re heading out for a Memorial Day road trip, it’s important to take the right precautions to keep your vehicle and your travel companions safe.

“Before hitting the road, ensure your vehicle is in good condition by checking the oil, tires and brakes. Plan your route, including rest stops and points of interest, and have an alternate route ready. Book accommodations in advance and pack essentials like water, snacks, a first aid kit, maps and emergency supplies,” says Justin Yoshizawa, director of product management for Mercury Insurance.

It’s also important to review your car insurance coverage. Make sure your vehicle is protected with collision and comprehensive insurance, which covers things like accident-related repairs, weather damage and theft.

Optional endorsements, like roadside assistance, towing coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, can also be beneficial if you’re traveling far away from home.

Your personal car insurance policy will cover you in any U.S. state, but if you’re road tripping outside the country this Memorial Day weekend, don’t assume your normal coverage will apply.

“It’s important to confirm that your auto policy provides coverage wherever you are taking your road trip,” Yoshizawa says.

For example, some insurers offer Mexico car insurance as a separate policy for customers who are driving into Mexico.

If you’re planning an overseas vacation this summer, you should also consider purchasing travel insurance. This type of coverage provides financial protection for prepaid expenses, like airfare, hotels and excursions.

Depending on the policy, travel insurance will cover trip cancellations, trip interruptions, emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation and lost or damaged baggage.

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Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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Contributing Researcher

Elizabeth Rivelli is a freelance writer who covers insurance. Her areas of expertise are life insurance, car insurance, property insurance and health insurance. Elizabeth has appeared in dozens of online publications, including Investopedia, CNET and Bankrate. She has also written for several insurance companies.