AAA: Memorial Day travel to exceed pre-pandemic levels

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s almost time to fire up the grill! Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff of summer, is right around the corner, and travelers are getting ready for a busy weekend.

“Summer travel is back in a big way,” said Jillian Young, a representative for AAA Northeast. “We are predicting nearly 44 million people will travel this year … it exceeds pre-pandemic levels for the first time.”

Driving recommendations

Young said the majority of people will be traveling by car.

“If you are heading out to your trip on a Thursday or Friday, you really want to avoid mixing with commuters, so leave early in the morning or later in the day,” she recommended.

If your trip ends on Sunday, Young recommends heading home early to avoid nighttime traffic. On the other hand, if you’re planning to head home on Monday, AAA suggests enjoying the day and leaving later at night.

Air travel

Airports will also be packed with people flying to their holiday destinations, Young told 12 News. AAA expects 3.5 million travelers will take to the skies this Memorial Day weekend.

She recommended that people look at protecting their flights with travel insurance.

“There is a new U.S. DOT rule requiring airlines to give passengers refunds for significantly changed flights, but that hasn’t gone into effect yet,” she said.

Rental cars

If you’re planning to rent a car, Young says, do it now.

“Boston is one of the busiest hubs for car rentals,” she told 12 News. “If you have not rented a car yet, go ahead and do that.”

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