Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Could Be Rough

Traffic Jam | Image by Kichigin/Shutterstock
Traffic Jam | Image by Kichigin/Shutterstock

With Memorial Day long weekend upon us, consider taking a deep breath before you hit the road; traffic jams are likely to be worse than in prior years.

It’s not just the roads that will be bustling. Airports across the nation will be swarming with travelers, making this Memorial Day weekend the busiest in almost two decades, according to AAA’s forecast. Between Thursday and Monday, a staggering 43.8 million people are projected to travel at least 50 miles from their homes.

The Transportation Security Administration forecasts that on Friday alone, up to three million people may take to the skies. Compared to last year, the weekend flier number is expected to be roughly 5% higher, per AAA. To make matters worse, Dallas/Fort Worth International was ranked one of the worst airports in the country for Memorial Day weekend travel, according to a study conducted by Risk Strategies JW Surety Bonds.

Another assessment completed by the website StressFreeCarRental.com ranked Dallas/Fort Worth International as the third most stressful airport in the entire United States, in part due to its being one of the busiest airports in the county. The report cited the airport’s distance from the nearest city, the high number of passengers, and the number of flight destination options as reasons for its ranking.

While Americans are worried about the economy, retreating travel prices may have helped drive this year’s activity.

Compared to one year ago, airfares are down 6%, and vehicle rental prices have fallen 10%. Hotel prices have also slipped a modest 0.4% during that period.

Texas alone is expecting 3.6 million travelers this weekend, says AAA. This would represent a more than 4% bump from Memorial Day weekend last year.

Friday is expected to see the most road traffic. If possible, plan to travel early in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest traffic.

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