With the official start of summer less than six weeks away, AAA recommends travelers start planning their vacation getaway now if they haven’t already made their plans. AAA Travel booking data shows that Memorial Day flight, rental car, cruise and hotel bookings are up 122% over last year.
“We’ve seen a noticeable increase in our travel bookings in early spring, which is a good indication of what to expect for the summer,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, spokeswoman for AAA Blue Grass.
“Despite inflation and rising gas prices, people want to travel and we believe they will find ways to do so without breaking their budget.”
Plan your Memorial Day trip now
Travelers looking to get away for Memorial Day should start planning now. To maximize time, savings, and reduce stress, AAA recommends working with a trusted travel agent. “These industry experts have many resources at their disposal to help you plan and organize a trip that fits your specific needs and budget,” says Weaver Hawkins. “They can easily examine a variety of options and scenarios to find deals and savings that aren’t always available to the public.”
AAA also offers travelers the following tips:
• Flexibility is key to saving on travel. Fly on off-peak days and times, choose a hidden gem closer to home, or opt to stay at an all-inclusive resort with plenty of on-site activities. This limits the need for a rental car and paying a la carte for entertainment and meals.
• Book early on flights, hotels, tours, cruises and car rentals. Don’t wait until the last minute if you want to benefit from the best rate. Be sure to ask about discounts for prepayment, something else a travel agent can help you navigate.
• Travel with your bubble. Small-group travel grew in popularity during the pandemic when many opted to vacation with those they were already in close contact with. Consider traveling in a small group to spread out costs for things like activities and accommodation. If everyone is scattered, a travel agent can help manage the logistics.
• Protect your investment. The first step in planning your trip is to purchase travel insurance. This provides a safety net in case the unexpected happens before or during your trip and is another example of how useful a travel advisor can be. They know you, know your trip, your budget and your specific needs and can easily help you find a travel insurance policy that suits you best.
Airline tickets: Best (and worst) time to book for Memorial Day
When looking at the average airfare costs for each day over Memorial Day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) for 2022 compared to 2021, flights skew about $160 more This year.
Recent AAA booking data shows the best time to buy a plane ticket is about two weeks before Memorial Day weekend and travelers can expect to pay an average of $445 per ticket. Those who prefer a longer planning window will pay a little more since flights booked 28 to 60 days before the holiday cost an average of $470 each. Sunday offers the lowest airfare, followed by Friday.
AAA reports that travelers looking for a last-minute deal while waiting to book Memorial Day week will end up paying nearly double that, or about $845 per flight on average.
AAA also wants travelers to know that in the past, the cheapest day to fly for Memorial Day weekend has always been Saturday. This year, however, is the most expensive day to fly. As expected, Friday is the most popular air travel day and Memorial Day is the lightest.
Top destinations include major cities and beaches
Travelers are targeting major cities and beaches for their Memorial Day getaways this year. Here are the top 10 domestic destinations based on AAA bookings for flights, tours, car rentals and hotels:
1 Orlando, Florida
2 Seattle, Washington
3 Miami, Florida
4 Las Vegas, Nevada
5 Anchorage, AK
6 Honolulu, Hawaii
7 Boston, MA
8 Anaheim, California
9 New York, NY
10 San Francisco, California
Travelers going abroad choose classic destinations such as:
1 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2 Paris, France
3 Dublin, Ireland
4 London, England
5 Amsterdam, Netherlands
6 Rome, Italy
7 Cancun, Mexico
8 Barcelona, Spain
9 Budapest, Hungary