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Auto Club: SoCal Memorial Day Travel Expected To Continue Climbing Past Pre-Pandemic Levels

acsc memorial day 2024

Memorial Day 2023 soundbites in English from Auto Club Spokesperson Gianella Ghiglino

Memorial Day 2023 soundbites in Spanish from Auto Club Spokesperson Anlleyn Venegas

The Automobile Club of Southern California expects 3.5 million people will travel over this Memorial Day weekend, a 4.7% increase from 2023. This is a new record for travel for the holiday and the second year in a row that Memorial Day travel should exceed the previous record levels of 2019.

Nationwide, AAA projects 43.8 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend, a 4.1% increase from 2023 and 2.4% higher than the 42.8 million who traveled in 2019. The Memorial Day travel period is defined as five days from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

“Usually, the travel trends over Memorial Day are an indication of what we can expect for summer travel, and this year is shaping up to be at record levels particularly for cruises and international tours,” said Jena Miller, the Auto Club’s vice president of travel products.

Memorial Day Travel Volumes by Modes of Transportation

SoCal travel volume - CA chart memorial day 2024
US travel volume - SoCal chart memorial day 2024

Best/Worst Times to Drive

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, expects the afternoons and evenings of Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 to be the busiest times to travel. Locally, the busiest stretch of freeway is expected to be I-5 North from Los Angeles to Bakersfield on the afternoon and evening of Thursday May 23, when the travel time will increase by 84% over the normal 90 minutes to nearly three hours. INRIX projections indicate the best times to travel by car are on Thursday and Friday before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m., on Sunday before 1 p.m., and on Monday after 7 p.m.

Top Destinations this Memorial Day Weekend

AAA booking data for the Memorial Day weekend shows that nationally, the top five destinations are Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Anaheim/Los Angeles.  Internationally, the top destinations for U.S. travelers are Rome, Vancouver, London, Paris and Dublin.

According to Auto Club travel and attractions booking data, the top five destinations for Southern Californians this Memorial Day weekend will be:

1)         Las Vegas

2)         San Diego

3)         Grand Canyon

4)         Hawaii

5)         Seattle/Alaska cruises

Locally, travelers will pay about 50 cents more per gallon than this time last year to fuel up before their trips. However, airfares are generally holding steady with a 1-2% increase for domestic fares compared to the 2023 Memorial Day holiday.

Auto Club Offers Travel Tips this Memorial Day and Beyond

  • Inspect vehicle tires, battery, and fluid levels before a long road trip. Nationwide, AAA expects to rescue more than 378,000 stranded drivers at the roadside, including more than 95,000 in California.
  • Pack food, water, an emergency kit, first-aid kit, and mobile phone charger in case you break down.
  • Reserve airport parking ahead of time to save you time on departure day.
  • Get to airports at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
  • Sign up for TSA PreCheck or Clear to speed up the security process.
  • Download your airline’s app and use FlightAware to track your aircraft the day of departure.
  • Avoid checking a bag, if possible. Carry-on luggage allows you to be more flexible in the event of a delay or cancellation.
  • Book summer travel now. High demand and reduced schedules will mean fewer options.
  • Work with a trusted Auto Club travel advisor who can save you money and assist in rebooking should you need to.
  • Consider travel insurance to protect your investment.

Media Contacts

Gianella Ghiglino
Public Affairs Specialist English/Spanish Language Media Spokesperson
(818) 939-9851
Anlleyn Venegas
Public Affairs Specialist. Spanish-Language Media Spokesperson , Auto Club Enterprises
(619) 565-4556
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.