Travelers Brace for a Busy Memorial Day Travel Weekend

By: James Flippin · May 25, 2023 · Reading Time: 4 minutes

Post-Pandemic Boom

After years of restrictions and social distancing, travelers are expected to hit the road — and air — in full force this Memorial Day.

Travel association AAA expects 42.3 million Americans to travel this coming holiday weekend. If the forecast holds, it will make this the third busiest Memorial Day since 2000.

Flight Frenzy

Airports are expected to welcome 3.4 million travelers over the long weekend, up 5.4% from 2019.

Notably, that means the US is set to officially exceed pre-pandemic air travel numbers. This is exciting news for the country, as it overcomes a difficult few years of lockdowns and quarantines.

It may be less exciting for travelers who will now have to contend with crowded airports. Although demand has rebounded, airports remain understaffed across the country. Given the circumstances, it’s possible your air travel experience could be more hectic than normal.

Traveling Smart

On the bright side, gas prices are lower this year by almost a full dollar per gallon. So, although it may be a busy weekend of travel, it could be a more affordable experience for both drivers and flyers.

To help relieve airport anxiety, TSA PreCheck can be an underrated time-saver. For a flat $78 fee, TSA PreCheck will get you through security faster for the next five years. You might also consider travel insurance or booking through a credit card that offers travel protection, in case of a delay or cancellation.

Another useful air travel hack — if it fits in your schedule — is to book the first flight of the day. These planes tend to arrive at the airport the night before, meaning your flight is less likely to be delayed the next day. For drivers, the best times to avoid the holiday gridlock are early morning and after 6pm.

But at the end of the day, the best strategy may be to embrace the craziness. After all, what’s a holiday weekend without a little adventure?

Planning your next vacation? Find the lowest rates on flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and more with SoFi Travel, a new service offered exclusively to SoFi members.

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