Vaccinations drive greater travel forecast


BOSTON (SHNS) – Far more Americans will travel for the second Memorial Day during the COVID-19 era than did last year, though overall volumes will likely remain below pre-pandemic levels, according to new projections from AAA Travel.

The organization expects more than 37 million people to travel 50 miles or more from their homes between May 27 and May 31, an increase of 60 percent over a similar span in 2020 and 13 percent less than in 2019.

In Massachusetts, AAA Northeast expects more than 900,000 residents to travel around Memorial Day, a significant increase from the 561,000 who traveled for the holiday weekend in 2020.

“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” said AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs Mary Maguire. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions.”

Most of the travel will take place by car, AAA projects, with 2.5 million Americans set to board planes — a nearly sixfold increase over last year — compared to 34 million who are planning road trips.

AAA officials said travel volumes could fluctuate based on public health developments in the next few weeks, particularly if COVID-19 variants drive a significant increase in confirmed cases. 

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