If you plan to travel out of the Philadelphia area this Memorial Day weekend, prepare to hit some traffic.
“AAA is anticipating a robust Memorial Day holiday weekend in terms of travel,” said Jana Tidwell, public and government affairs manager with AAA Mid-Atlantic. ”People are ready, and they are willing to travel again.”
AAA predicts close to half a million residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties will travel at least 50 miles between Thursday and Monday — the most since before the pandemic in 2019.
“This is likely an indication of what we can expect as we move into the summer travel season,” Tidwell said.
AAA expects more than 440,000 Philadelphia-area residents to travel by car this weekend and close to 42,000 by plane — both up several percentage points from last year. The number of people expected to travel by rail, bus, or other modes of transportation is up a similar amount.
Travelers seem to want to return to “normal” travel experiences, Tidwell said.
“They’re returning to travel by air the way they did pre-pandemic,” Tidwell said. “A big reason for that is that COVID restrictions have been lifted, especially on international travel. So despite higher airfares, people are returning to air travel for their summer travel destinations.”
If you plan to travel this weekend, aim for off-peak times to avoid the rush, Tidwell said. Friday will likely be the busiest, while Saturday and Sunday should be the lightest travel days.
“If you travel early in the morning or later in the evening after the afternoon rush — say 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. and beyond — not only will you save time not waiting in traffic, but you’ll also save in terms of the amount of gasoline that you burn when you’re traveling to your destination,” Tidwell said.
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