Memorial Day travel numbers likely to set record low

Motorists to see cheapest Memorial Day pump prices in nearly two decades

By: Ragina C. Ali, AAA Mid-Atlantic

TOWSON, MD (Wednesday, May 20, 2020) – Last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic forecast a record-setting 918,000 Marylanders would travel 50 miles or more for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This year will look much, much different. For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19.

While Maryland is not currently under a statewide stay at home order, three counties and Baltimore City remain under local stay at home orders while four other counties have only partially moved into Stage One reopenings. For county-by-county information, please visit https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery/.

Americans should heed all official warnings and refer to the latest updates from the CDC and U.S. Department of State to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that Americans stay home and avoid nonessential travel.
Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season.
Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000.

With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.

Memorial Day 2009 (toward the end of the Great Recession) currently holds the record for the lowest travel volume at nearly 31 million travelers, according to AAA. Tuesday’s national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $1.88. The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2/gallon was in 2003.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.”

AAA expects that when it is safe to travel again, vacationers will gravitate to road trips and family bookings including air, car, hotel and activities to destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Shortly thereafter, assuming international travel restrictions are lifted, we expect to see more demand for tropical destinations and a wider range of international travel.


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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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