If you’re planning a Memorial Day getaway, AAA urges you to start finalizing your travel plans now, if you haven’t already. AAA Travel booking data shows that reservations for flights, rental cars, cruises and hotels for Memorial Day have more than doubled from last year.
“We’ve seen a notable increase in our travel bookings in early spring, which is a strong indication of what to expect for summer,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA- The Auto Club Group. “Despite inflation and higher gas prices, people want to travel and we believe they will find ways to do so without breaking their budget.”
Note- AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast (which includes the projected number of holiday travelers) will be published on May 17th.
Airfares – Best (and Worst) Time to Book for Memorial Day
When looking at the average costs of domestic airfare for each day over Memorial Day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday), flights are skewing about $160 more than last year.
AAA booking data shows the best time to purchase airfare is about two weeks before Memorial Day, with travelers paying an average of $445 per ticket. However, those travelers who wait to book the week of Memorial Day could end up paying almost twice as much. Flights reserved 28 – 60 days ahead of the holiday are averaging $470 each.
The most popular air travel day is Friday. Memorial Day is the lightest. In past years, the cheapest day to fly for Memorial Day weekend was consistently Saturday. This year, however, Saturday is the most expensive day to fly. Sunday offers the lowest airfare followed by Friday (an average price of $543 and $596, respectively).
“Considering the strong demand for travel this year, the best advice is to book your Memorial Day flights early,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While you may pay a little more money up front, you will have more flight options to choose from than those who wait until a couple of weeks before the holiday.”
Think like an Early Bird
Travelers who want to get away for Memorial Day should start planning now. To maximize time, savings and alleviate stress, AAA recommends working with a trusted travel agent.
“Travel advisors are the industry experts with many resources at their disposal to help plan and organize a trip that fits a traveler’s specific needs and budget,” Haas continued. “They can easily look at a variety of options and scenarios to find deals and savings not always available to the public.”
AAA also offers travelers the following advice:
- Be Flexible – where and when you travel – fly on off-peak times/days, pick 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 dining.
- Book early – flights, hotels, tours, cruises, car rentals – the earlier the better to lock in the best rate and make sure to ask about discounts for pre-paying. Something else a travel agent can help navigate.
- Travel with your bubble – small group travel rose in popularity during the pandemic when many opted to vacation with people they were in close contact with. Consider taking a group trip to divvy up costs for things like activities and accommodations. If everyone is spread out, a travel agent can help manage the logistics.
- Protect your investment – a key step to planning your trip is to purchase travel insurance. This provides a safety net should something unexpected happen ahead of or during your trip. This is another example of where a travel agent is useful. They know you, your trip, your budget and your specific needs and can walk you through what travel insurance policy makes the most sense.
Top Destinations include Big Cities and Beaches
Travelers are targeting big cities and beaches for their Memorial Day getaways this year. These are the top 10 domestic destinations according to AAA bookings for flights, tours, car rentals and hotels:
Las Vegas, NV
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Americans traveling internationally are choosing classic destinations like:
|Vancouver, BC, Canada|
Diamonds Shine Brighter and Cleaner
For more than 80 years, AAA’s Diamond program has helped travelers pick the best in accommodations and dining when planning their vacation. These establishments must meet AAA’s high standards of cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to earn this honor. At the heart of the Diamond program are AAA Inspectors who are experienced, industry experts working with the best interest of the traveler in mind. New hotels and restaurants are inspected annually and those that make the grade are added as new Diamond honorees.
For 2022, AAA added 103 new four and five diamond hotels and restaurants, some of which are located in top Memorial Day destinations like Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Boston, Anaheim, New York and San Francisco. Two new four diamond hotels added to the list are located in Georgia.
Click here to view the full list of these newly added Diamond honorees.
The pandemic had a profound effect on travelers’ expectations for cleanliness and AAA evolved its Diamond program to respond to this need. In 2021, AAA expanded its housekeeping evaluation to include objective, scientific validation of the cleanliness of common surfaces throughout hotels. Every hotel that is inspected and part of the Diamond program must meet this standard and are recognized as Inspected Clean.
To find an Inspected Clean, Diamond-rated property for your next trip, click here.