NEW YORK—Location data company Arrivalist predicts 37.9 million U.S. adults will travel by automobile 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 percent above 2021 volume.
“The American road trip is thriving,” said Cree Lawson, Arrivalist founder and CEO. “We are projecting an 8.5 percent increase in year-over-year road trips compared to 2021. As a whole, U.S. road trips have been steadily increasing all year.”
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-plus mile range (perhaps due to a 26 percent 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 one percent above 2019 levels over the past 28 days. Road trips that begin on any day of the week, in contrast, are up 6.6 percent 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 tool to help the travel industry track the pulse of the pandemic’s recovery. Earlier this year, Arrivalist updated the Daily Travel Index with three new improvements, including the addition of overnight stay data on the website, up to four years of trending travel data (2019-2022), and the ability to compare trending travel data across all 50 states.