Home CNTraveler.com How to Avoid Traffic and Crowds While Traveling This Memorial Day Weekend

How to Avoid Traffic and Crowds While Traveling This Memorial Day Weekend


Memorial Day officially kicks off the summer travel season here in the US, and millions of travelers plan relaxing long weekends around it. But in order to get to a sunny beach or serene national park to unwind, you’ll likely have to contend with stressful crowds and traffic—unless you time your great escape exactly right.

No matter what type of transportation you choose, Memorial Day traffic will be inevitable this year. According to AAA data, nearly 44 million Americans will be traveling over the holiday stretch from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27. That’s the second highest number AAA has seen since it began tracking Memorial Day data in 2000.

“We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement.

Faith Based Events

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps travelers can take to avoid the worst of the hubbub, whether on the interstate, at the airport, or a train station. Being smart about when to depart and return can make a huge difference in terms of traffic—and smoothing out other logistics.

Here’s a guide to the best and worst times to travel over Memorial Day Weekend, broken down by mode of transport.

Road trips

According to AAA’s projections, the majority of travelers will be hitting the open road this Memorial Day: More than 87% of travelers—a whopping 38.4 million people—are planning to take a road trip over the weekend. That’s the highest number of Memorial Day drivers AAA has ever seen, meaning planning ahead will be more important than ever.

In general, it’s a good idea to get an early start when driving on Thursday and Friday. On those days, the best car travel times will be before 11 a.m., according to AAA’s report, which used traffic data from Inrix. After 7 p.m. on Thursday or 8 p.m. on Friday will also see lower traffic numbers. The worst times to be on the road on Thursday and Friday will be from about noon to 7 p.m. (all local time).

When returning home on Sunday or Monday, you’ll want to avoid driving between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., as those times are projected to be the most congested on the road. Instead, aim to depart before 1 p.m. on Sunday or after 7 p.m. on Monday when the number of cars on the road will be significantly lower.

Continue traveling

Founded in 1909 by publisher Condé Montrose Nast, after his purchase of a weekly society gazette from New York called Vogue, Condé Nast has since grown to become a benchmark of publishing quality, known across the globe. With a footprint of more than 1 billion consumers in 32 markets through print, digital, video and social platforms, Condé Nast is home to some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, Architectural Digest (AD) and Condé Nast Traveler.