John Treanor

Record Number of Californians Projected to Travel for Memorial Day

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (May 13, 2024)  The summer travel season is kicking off with one of the busiest Memorial Day weekends since AAA began tracking travel data in 2000.

Nationwide, more than 43.8 million Americans are projected to travel over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That figure is 4 percent higher than last year and comes close to matching 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers.AAA projects a record 38.4 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, up 4 percent compared to last year. In addition, AAA expects this will be the most crowded Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005 with 3.51 million air travelers this holiday weekend, an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year.“We’re expecting Memorial Day weekend numbers like we haven’t seen in almost 20 years,” said Brian Ng, Senior Vice President of Membership and Travel Marketing for AAA Wyoming. “It’s not just a return to pre-pandemic levels but also foreshadows the robust summer travel season ahead.”  

California Travel Sets Record

Travel in California is expected to beat the previous record set in 2023, with 5.65 million travelers compared to 5.4 million last year. Road travel is the clear preference for Californians with 82 percent driving for the holiday. About 11 percent will fly and 7 percent will choose other forms of transportation like cruises, buses, or trains.

Top Destinations & Travel Tips

Memorial Day travelers are flocking to theme parks and entertainment venues in Orlando, New York, Las Vegas, and Southern California. Seattle, Anchorage, and Vancouver rank high because of the popularity of Alaska cruises this time of year. Whether you plan to do so by car or plane, knowing how to navigate travel can avoid unnecessary stress and challenges:

  • Be Proactive. California gas prices are subtantially higher than May 2023. Use the AAA Mobile App to find less expensive gas, plan your trip, request roadside assistance, and more.
  • Be Patient. Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 24 are projected to be the busiest days for road travel. Start your trip before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m., if possible. For domestic air travel, AAA suggests arriving at the airport 2 hours ahead of departure time. Airport parking lots fill up fast. Reserve a spot online ahead of time.
  • Be Prepared. AAA is anticipating nearly 380,000 roadside service calls nationwide for the holiday weekend. A pre-trip inspection at a AAA Auto Repair Center can prevent common breakdowns.

About AAA Northern California

AAA has a proud history of serving Members for over 100 years. AAA is on a mission to create Members for life by unleashing the innovative spirit of 5,300 employees representing 6 million Members across Northern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska. In addition to legendary roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto, and life insurance, travel, and home security services. Learn more at