Memorial Day Travel Forecast: Carolinians Still Expected to Travel Despite Higher Gas Prices

by Gwen Newell

AAA predicts 60% more travelers than last year and although that is still 14% below pre-pandemic levels, Carolinians are proving their eagerness to travel to celebrate the unofficial kickoff to summer despite higher gas prices.

For the 1.5 million Carolinians expected to travel by car this Memorial Day, gas prices are trending more than $1 higher than last year, when demand plummeted as much of the country was under stay-at-home orders. Gas prices were expected to flirt with $3/gallon leading up to Memorial Day weekend, but last week’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline caused prices to spike weeks ahead of the holiday.

With the pipeline back in operation and supply being restored, gas prices will soon stabilize. AAA still urges drivers to fuel up responsibly. A surge in demand can exasperate supply problems. Consider combining trips, waiting until your tank reaches a half or quarter full before refueling. Letting your vehicle’s fuel tank run dry is more than just an inconvenience, it could also lead to costly mechanical problems down the road. AAA advises to keep an eye on your fuel level and fill up before arriving to your final destination. The AAA app can provide insight on gas prices and you can always call ahead to a station to confirm they are open for business.

AAA expects a significant rebound in the number of Americans planning to travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend. More than 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more between May 27 and May 31. That’s a 60% increase from last year, when only 23 million traveled, the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.

In the Carolinas, 1.7 million residents are forecast to take a trip during the holiday weekend. That’s more than a 50% increase from last year, when fewer residents traveled due to the pandemic.

The top destinations include the following:

Road Trips:

  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Myrtle Beach, SC
  4. Denver, CO
  5. Nashville, TN

AAA Travel Bookings:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Honolulu, HI
  4. Anchorage, AK
  5. Colorado Springs, CO

When planning a trip, refer to the new AAA Digital TourBook guides, now available for destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean at Available on smartphone, tablet or desktop, the new interactive guides feature detailed destination information, must-see attractions, sample itineraries and more.

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