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Expectations for Memorial Day weekend traffic; experts from AAA give recommendations

Posted at 7:54 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 06:40:48-04

With COVID numbers going down and more people vaccinated, many are anxious to get their holiday weekend started. Experts from AAA say we could start to see traffic as early as Wednesday.

37 million people are estimated to travel nationwide, including about 750,000 in the Baltimore/DC area. That's up 60 percent since this weekend last year, which isn't too surprising since this time last year everything was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Right now, gas is about three dollars a gallon on average. Experts recommend not filling up right off the highway when you're traveling to save some money.

A popular driving destination for Marylanders is Ocean City so that means the Bay Bridge is going to get back up at some point. Your best bet to beat the chaos is leave early or late in the day.

AAA experts recommend the following times:

  • Thursday and Sunday before 10 in the morning or after 10 at night.
  • Friday before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m.
  • Saturday before 8 in the morning or after 5 p.m.
  • If you're planning on coming home Memorial Day, you'll want to leave before 8 a.m. or after 11 at night.

Andrew Gross, a spokesperson for AAA, says the worst time to travel is Thursday between 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

"The traffic is going to be clogging up in all those major metro areas, because you're dealing with rush hour traffic and you're dealing with holiday traffic. It's just not a good time to be planning to leave for a vacation. And plus it will put everybody in a bad mood, right. Who wants to be for the first few hours of a vacation is you're stuck in traffic. That's not a good mood setter for any kind of holiday trip," said Gross.

If you're flying airport traffic has picked up too. This past Sunday, TSA saw the highest number of passengers since the pandemic started with nearly 2 million people screened.

Alejandro Mayorkas with Homeland Security Secretary said, "it's really fantastic to see people traveling again to visit friends and family across the country. It's a positive sign that our nation's beginning to recover from this most challenging pandemic."

Remember masks are still required on planes and in airports or on any public transportation.