June 21, 2024

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Tips for hitting the roads and skies this Memorial Day

2 min read

Nearly 44 million Americans plan to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, which is close to the record.

At Reagan National Airport, airlines are bracing for a summer travel season like no other. Nationwide, more than three million people will be getting on an airplane this week, a nearly 5% increase compared to last year, 9% more than before the pandemic. But it’s the roads that will see the biggest traffic. Over 38 million people will travel by car, the highest number since AAA started tracking in 2000.

And what about the local roads? Well in the Mid-Atlantic region, 4.6 million people will be driving.

The price of gas this Memorial Day is expected to be similar to last year when the national average was roughly $3.57. However, the cost of pretty much everything else is up.

Airfare and food costs are likely to keep rising with some companies focusing more on affordability as inflation is viewed as slowly getting back to normal.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) predicts this will be the busiest summer travel season ever. Just from May 23 to May 29, TSA expects to screen more than 18 million passengers.

RELATED | ‘More than 38 million people traveling by car:’ Travels numbers record according AAA

Best times to travel:

  • Thursday and Friday: Before noon or late evening
  • Sunday and Monday coming home: Before 1 p.m. or late evening

Worst times to travel:

  • Thursday and Friday: Noon and 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday and Monday: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“In close coordination with airport, airline and travel partners, we are more than ready to handle this summer’s increased travel volumes,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We are also continuing to deploy state-of-the-art checkpoint technology that increases security effectiveness, efficiency and enhances the passenger experience and our retention and recruitment numbers are the highest they’ve ever been.”

Here are some tips, according to the TSA news release:

  • TSA forecasts Friday to be the busiest travel day, anticipating nearly three million passengers
  • Be aware of new checkpoint technology and follow TSA guidance
  • Several airports have installed Computed Tomography (CT) units. These units significantly improve scanning and threat detection capabilities for carry-on bags
  • Pack an empty bag, know before you go, and remember the 3-1-1 rule. Before packing that empty bag, check TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” tool to know what is prohibited
  • Make sure you have a REAL ID or another acceptable ID
  • Make sure your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is in your reservation


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