The heat is on: Memorial Day forecast points to scorching summer travel | Local News

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The unofficial start to summer will be busy this year, as AAA predicts nearly 40 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend.

This is an increase of 8.3% compared to 2021, bringing travel volumes back almost to the level of 2017.

Air travel continues to rebound, up 25% from a year ago, the second biggest increase since 2010. With volumes approaching pre-pandemic levels, AAA is urging travelers to book now and to remember that flexibility is essential this year.

“Based on our projections, more Americans will take to the roads and skies this Memorial Day weekend than in years past,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “People are looking forward to this special trip to spend time with family and friends.”

Air travel volume, which began to recover on Thanksgiving, will hit levels just short of 2019, with 3 million people expected to take flight this Memorial Day weekend. In fact, the percentage of people traveling by air will exceed 2019 levels by 7.5%, with 7.7% of travelers choosing air travel as their preferred mode.

This year’s forecast marks the second largest single-year increase in travelers since 2010 [2021 was the highest], bringing volumes back almost to pre-pandemic levels. Although historic gasoline prices top the $4 mark, around 35 million people plan to travel by car, up 4.6% from last year.

A greater proportion of travelers are opting for air and other modes of transportation than in previous years. Car trips have jumped from 92% last year to 89% this year, a slight indication that rising prices at the pump are impacting how people choose to travel this Memorial Day. Whichever mode they choose, travelers should be prepared for a busy vacation weekend.

Plan, plan and plan some more. Book your travel plans now – the sooner the better for the best rate and discounts for full prepayment. Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability is filling up. Prices are already rising, and with increased demand, last-minute deals are unlikely to be found. AAA finds:

Air—The lowest average airfare is 6% higher than last year at $184/ticket, with Saturday being the most expensive day to travel and Monday the cheapest.

Hotels—Rates for midrange hotels have increased by approximately 42%, with the lowest average rates per night between approximately $199 and $257/night for AAA-rated hotels.

Car Rental—Daily car rental rates were down 16% from last year, with the lowest average rate being $100/day.

Based on AAA booking data, Thursday, May 26 is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the Memorial Day travel window [May 26 – May 30] Monday being the lightest. For those hitting the road, Thursday and Friday should be peak days. AAA suggests reducing stress by:

• Arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.

• Booking a flight outside peak periods to reduce waiting times.

• Take the road when there is less traffic and allow more travel time.

For the 35 million Americans who hit the road, it is always advisable to prepare vehicles for travel with a complete vehicle inspection.

AAA expects to respond to more than 388,000 calls for help over Memorial Day weekend. Have key vehicle components like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels checked and make sure you have a fully stocked vehicle emergency kit.

INRIX predicts that drivers will experience the longest travel delays ahead of the holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons of May 26-27. Drivers of major U.S. subways could experience double the commute time compared to a normal commute.

“Even with a significant increase in gas prices, we expect a big increase in vacation driving compared to recent years,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Drivers should expect traffic jams on major roads around major cities and popular destinations. Knowing when and where congestion will develop can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

For locals who would rather stay at home than fight the crowds, there is plenty to do in Ashtabula County:

• Ashtabula Memorial Day Parade, after an 11 am patriotic service at Veterans Park.

This year, Lakeside High School’s Director of Instrumental Music, David P. Roth, and Lakeside High student leaders are coordinating the parade.

The parade will begin at noon on May 30, beginning at West 48th Street, north on Main Avenue, turning west on West 42nd Street, then up Park Avenue, ending in the municipal building parking lot.

Children and adults are encouraged to dress in patriotic colors and wave small flags.

• The Township of Hartsgrove Fire Department will host a Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast, beginning at 7:00 am May 30th.

• A Memorial Day Lift Bridge 5K will be held from 1-3:30 p.m. on May 30 at 1006 Bridge St., Ashtabula.

• The Jefferson Village Memorial Day Parade begins at 11:00 am May 30th.

• The Kelloggsville Heritage Committee will host the 63rd Annual Memorial Day Parade and Service at 10:00 am May 30, beginning at Kelloggsville United Methodist Church and ending at Monroe Kelloggsville Cemetery. The Edgewood High School band, the Monroe Fire Department, flower girls and their attendants and old cars will participate in the parade. There will be special music from the band EHS, with vocals from Justin Thompson and Ray Coy. Local educator, Alan Runyan, will be the speaker. Two awards of excellence will be presented to local residents. Everyone is invited.

• Madison Veterans will hold a solemn memorial day to remember the heroes of the armed forces, who have died in the service of their country, beginning with a flag-raising ceremony at American Legion Posts 112 and 601 and at Post VFW 8548.

Services will be held at all community cemeteries in Madison, followed by a flyover at 10:55 a.m. and a parade down Main Street at 11 a.m. May 30. The parade will travel to Madison Village Park. The guest speaker will be retired CSM Mark Woodworth. At the conclusion of the services, wreaths will be laid at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, followed by a rifle salute and the raising of the full flag.

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