Memorial Day weekend travel plans . . . who are we kidding?

By Zlati Meyer

This Memorial Day weekend, you’ll likely be traveling from the bedroom to the kitchen.

COVID-19 has all but halted plans for what is one of the biggest travel holidays of the year. Even with some states reopening, many Americans are choosing to stay put—or at least close to home.

For the first time in 20 years, AAA won’t be issuing its annual Memorial Day travel forecast.

Memorial Day is the last Monday in May; the holiday weekend is viewed as the unofficial start of the summer season. Traditionally, many summer-home rental agreements begin then, as do companies’ summer-hours schedules.

“Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend—the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.”

That title currently belongs to Memorial Day 2009, which saw 31 million travelers. The significant reduction can be attributed to the Great Recession.

Americans who do choose to stretch their sheltering-in-place legs have a bit of good news. The Memorial Day weekend national gas price average will be lower than $2 a gallon this year for the first time since 2003, according to, which pointed to decreased demand during the COVID-19 shutdown as the reason for the drop.

Motorists in 2020 will pay an estimated $1.93; 17 years ago, it was $1.46.

“Millions of Americans are struggling with job losses, and while gas prices have rebounded slightly, the low-priced start to the summer may offer some respite from the dire economic conditions many are stuck in,” explained Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With Americans reluctant to get on a plane or train for the holiday weekend, which is likely to continue throughout the summer, gas prices may slowly continue to rise, but prices will remain at a steep discount to last year to account for the situation.”

Some states, like Tennessee and Georgia, are suspending road work for the long weekend.

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