Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Memorial Day Getaway, According to Experts

From when to book, to the perfect time to hit the road — or not — keep AAA's reminders in mind for a stress-free holiday weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend is just a week away and while the holiday is fast approaching, AAA's advice for travelers will save anyone hitting the road or skies both time, stress, or money.

In total, 39.2 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes for the unofficial start of summer, 8.3% more than in 2021, according to AAA. That demand, coupled with high gas costs — currently averaging more than $4.59 per gallon nationwide and topping more than $6 in California — as well as ongoing staffing shortages at airlines will mean a spike in prices for just about every type of vacation.

The earlier people book, the better chance they have of locking in a good rate for everything from flights to rental cars, accommodations, tours, cruises, and more. But finding last-minute deals is increasingly unlikely, according to the company.

For those who haven't made their plans yet, flexibility is key. When it comes to road trips, for example, travelers should look to travel during off-peak times and days (the afternoons on Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27, will likely be the busiest, according to AAA). Travelers should also try to avoid the "worst" corridors like I-85 S from Clairmont Road to MLK Drive in the Atlanta area, I-278 W from the Long Island Expressway to 39th Street in New York, and I-290 E from IL-110 to Racine Avenue in Chicago.

And those who want to save time — and money in the long run — should make sure their car is in tip-top shape before heading out.

When it comes to air travel, Thursday will likely be the busiest day during the Memorial Day Weekend travel period with Monday the lightest. In fact, air travel is expected to see a 25% increase over the same time period last year.

"Air travel has faced several challenges since the beginning of the year," Paula Twidale, the senior vice president at AAA Travel, said in a statement. "With the type of volume we anticipate, we continue to recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Both are a lifesaver if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans."

AAA also recommends travelers consider booking an all-inclusive resort that has a lot of on-site activities as a way to save, as that "limits the need for a rental car and paying a la carte for entertainment and dining."

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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