(UNDATED) – If you’re planning to hit the road this weekend, you’re not alone.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) expects nearly 43 million Americans to travel by cars, trains, and airplanes for the long holiday weekend, a 3.6 percent increase from last year and the second-highest travel volume since 2000 when record-keeping began.
AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday and Friday in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Many metro areas will experience traffic that is three times worse than usual.
Despite rising gas prices, AAA expects 37.6 million people to drive, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to last year.
“When gas prices are expensive, travelers may shorten the distance of a road trip, eat out less, or look for free activities,” said AAA gas price expert Jeanette Casselano. “But, overall, prices are very similar to this time last year and, like then, they aren’t letting that deter them from taking summer road trips.”
Air travel will also increase this year, to 3.25 million people, a jump of more than 4 percent.
“Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and expensive gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Paula Twidale, vice president at AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”