Forecast: More road trips Memorial Day weekend

Arrivalist predicts 37.9 million Americans will travel by automobile over Memorial Day weekend this year. This volume is tracking slightly above 2019 and 2021 Memorial Day traffic levels. Overall, 2022 U.S. road travel is tracking 8.5% above 2021 volume.

“The American road trip is thriving,” said Cree Lawson, founder/CEO, Arrivalist. “We are projecting an 8.5% increase in year-over-year road trips compared to 2021. As a whole, U.S. road trips have been steadily increasing all year.”

The nature of road trips has changed over the past year as well. This April, the company observed:

  • More overnight stays; fewer day trips
  • An increase in road trips of more than 250 miles (perhaps due to a 26% increase in airfares)
  • Higher volume of midweek travel

“While rising gas prices are an important factor in determining travel plans, we’ve observed that the recent increase in airfare motivates travelers to take longer road trips,” said Lawson.

The jump in midweek travel between 2019 and 2022 is especially important in projecting Memorial Day travel because the holiday falls over a weekend. Road trips that begin on a Friday this year are 1% above 2019 levels over the past 28 days. Road trips that begin on any day of the week, in contrast, are up 6.6% compared to 2019.

“We expect a significant amount of road trip volume over the Memorial Day Weekend—in fact, our forecast shows that the travel volume may even exceed 2019 levels by a small margin,” said Balakumar Raghuraman, VP, analytics, Arrivalist.

When calculating holiday travel predictions, Arrivalist considers the following factors:

  • Trending information from the Daily Travel Index, which tracks U.S. travel patterns, providing consumers with timely updates within 48 hours of a specific date
  • TSA numbers
  • Gas prices
  • COVID-19 case counts (COVID-19 case counts had a lower weighting this year; gas prices had a higher weighting)