More than a million NJ residents to travel Memorial Day weekend
🚗 More than one million New Jerseyans are expected to travel this holiday weekend
✈ Most will take road trips, AAA predicts
🚂 The Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest at airports since 2005
Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us and it’s going to be a busy one, at least as far as traveling is concerned.
Travel will be reminiscent of pre-pandemic holiday travel, said AAA MidAtlantic spokeswoman, Tracy Noble.
“In New Jersey, this is expected to be the fifth busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel. Despite inflation, this summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at the airports,” Noble said.
What should we expect?
AAA is projecting over one million New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, an increase of almost 7% over last year.
The travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
It should come as no surprise that over 900,000 New Jerseyans will drive to their destinations, representing 91% of those traveling for the holiday weekend, Noble said. That’s up more than 6% over last year.
Gas prices are lower this holiday compared to last year, when the New Jersey average was $4.77 a gallon, nearing $5 a gallon. But this year, Noble said the average price for a gallon of regular is around $3.40.
While more people will be out on the roads this year than last, car travel this holiday will be shy of pre-pandemic numbers by about 15,000 travelers in the Garden State.
Noble said surprisingly, the biggest travel increases this Memorial Day weekend is in regard to air travel and other modes of transportation.
“Regarding air travel, we are expecting almost 70,000 New Jersey travelers to fly to their destinations. That’s an increase of 10% compared to last year. Even with the high ticket prices, the demand for flights is skyrocketing so it could be the busiest at airports since 2005,” Noble said.
Other modes of transportation are actually up the highest this year coming in at almost 20%. Noble said this shows where people are when it comes to their comfort levels. Nearly 20% of New Jersey travelers will be taking buses, trains, or cruises to their holiday destinations.
What are the worst days and times to travel?
Noble said Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26 between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the worst travel times. She said the earlier you set out, the better, such as before 1 p.m. on the Thursday, and before noon on the Friday.
Minimal traffic is expected on Saturday and Sunday.
Then on the return trip, the worst travel days are Monday, May 29 between noon and 3 p.m., and on Tuesday, May 30 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Traveling before 10 a.m. on the Monday and before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m. on the Tuesday are the best travel times.
What are some tips for road travelers?
Noble said to be sure your vehicle is road-ready. Make sure to check the car’s battery, fuel system, tires, brakes, and fluid levels before hitting the road. AAA will be on hand to assist but it’s better to get a full vehicle inspection before setting out on your road adventure.
Pack a summer emergency kit. Should there be a breakdown, Noble said it is important to have everything on hand to keep everyone in the car safe and comfortable while waiting for help to arrive. That kit should include a fully charged cellphone, charger, jumper cables, first aid kit, flare or flashlight with extra batteries, extra blankets, water, snacks, and extra medicines.
When traveling in a car, make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up. Noble said to put the phone down and pay attention to the road. Do not drive impaired and if there are emergency workers on the side of the road, slow down and move over so they can do their job safely.
What are some tips for air travelers?
Download the airline app and check your flight status before setting out.
Get to the airport early. They will be crowded. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
As with all modes of transportation, Noble leaves us with her key signature line of advice, “Pack your patience.”