Fuels

37.9 Million Americans to Hit the Road Memorial Day Weekend

Arrivalist expects an 8.5% year-over-year increase in trips
convenience store traffic
Photograph: Shutterstock

NEW YORK — Location data company Arrivalist predicts 37.9 million Americans will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend this year. This volume is tracking slightly above 2019 and 2021 Memorial Day traffic levels. Overall, 2022 U.S. road travel is tracking 8.5% above 2021 volume, according to Arrivalist data.

“The American road trip is thriving,” said Cree Lawson, Arrivalist founder and CEO. “We are projecting an 8.5% increase in year-over-year road trips compared to 2021. As a whole, U.S. road trips have been steadily increasing all year.”

Image courtesy of Arrivalist

According to Arrivalist’s observations, the nature of road trips has changed over the past year as well. In April 2022, the company observed:

  • More overnight stays; fewer day trips.
  • An increase in road trips in the 250+ mile range (perhaps due to a 26% increase in airfares).
  • Higher volume of midweek travel.

"While rising gas prices are an important factor in determining travel plans, we’ve observed that the recent increase in airfare motivates travelers to take longer road trips,” said Lawson.

The increase in midweek travel between 2019 and 2022 is especially important in projecting Memorial Day travel because the holiday falls over a weekend. Road trips that begin on a Friday in 2022 are 1% above 2019 levels over the past 28 days. Road trips that begin on any day of the week, in contrast, are up 6.6% compared to 2019.

“We expect a significant amount of road trip volume over the Memorial Day Weekend. In fact, our forecast shows that the travel volume may even exceed 2019 levels by a small margin,” said Balakumar Raghuraman, vice president of Analytics.

When calculating holiday travel predictions, Arrivalist considers the following factors:

  • Trending information from the Daily Travel Index.
  • TSA numbers.
  • Gas prices.
  • COVID-19 case counts (COVID-19 case counts had a lower weighting this year; gas prices had a higher weighting).

Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index tracks U.S. travel patterns, providing consumers with updates within 48-hours of a specific date. Launched in April 2020, the platform was built as a free tool to help the travel industry track the pulse of the pandemic’s recovery.

Arrivalist’s methodology is based on a representative balanced panel of GPS signals representing road trips taken specifically in cars (excluding travel by air). A trip is measured as one where the user has travelled a minimum of 50 miles and spent a minimum of two hours at the destination. Commuter travel or other frequently repeated trips—including cargo deliveries or other reoccurring activities—are excluded from the Daily Travel Index.

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