SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Despite gas prices in Washington being up 17.7 cents per gallon from last week, nearly 35 million Americans will travel by car for the Memorial weekend this year.
According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) study, more than 39 million people, 2.5% of them from Washington, are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the 2022 Memorial Day holiday weekend, 3 million more than in 2021.
“Memorial Day is always a good indicator of what’s to come for summer travel,” Michelle Glass, vice president of travel for AAA Washington, said in a written statement. “Based on these projections, people who are more than ready to take overdue vacations plan to do so in the coming months.”
Travelers will have to be ready to spend extra money on gas as the national U.S. average price of gasoline has jumped 11 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $4.57 per gallon on Monday, according to a GasBuddy survey.
In Washington, the average gas price stands at $5.15 per gallon, up 17.7 cents per gallon from last week's $4.97 price. But the increase in gas prices in Washington is not stopping people from exploring the Pacific Northwest for the holiday weekend.
According to the AAA study, for Memorial Day weekend this year, some travelers are planning to discover the Pacific Northwest by car. Of the 39 million people expected to travel from Thursday, May 26 through Memorial Day, 89% will hit the roads, 84% of Washington’s 974,000 travelers, according to the AAA study.
The top three road trip destinations people are choosing to travel to during the 2022 Memorial weekend, are Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.
"With more Americans planning to hit the road for Memorial Day this year compared to last, prices will be over $1.50 per gallon higher than last year," Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis, said in a statement. "Though, prices are appearing to slow down, for now."
While some people are planning to hit the roads, others are planning to travel by air internationally. The top five destinations this year for Memorial weekend include Canada, Irland, France, Italy, England, and Mexico, according to the AAA report. Air travel will continue its rapid rebound, growing 25% this year to just over 3 million people, according to the AAA report.
The top U.S. destinations for Memorial Day this year include Orlando, Seattle, and Miami, according to the AAA study, which includes cruises and warm weather.
According to the study, the number of people traveling by trains, buses and cruise ships in 2021 is expected to triple nationwide and double in Washington, yet fall short of 2019 numbers by 25%.
In order to avoid delayed departures and missing trips, people need to avoid sitting in traffic. According to the AAA study, the best and worst times to travel this Memorial Day weekend are the following:
Thursday: The best time to travel is before 6:00 a.m. or After 9:00 p.m. The worst time will be between 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday: Best time to travel is before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Worst time is noon to 7 p.m.
Saturday: Best time to travel is before 10 a.m. The worst time is from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: Best time to travel is before 10 a.m. The worst time is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday: Best time to travel is before 11 a.m. The worst time is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.