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Close to a million Marylanders expected to travel this holiday weekend

May 22nd, 2019 by WCBC Radio

An estimated 918,000 Marylanders plan to schedule a getaway for the Memorial Day weekend, a 3.4% increase over last year, and the highest number of Memorial Day weekend travelers since 2000, when AAA began tracking holiday travel. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.


This year’s forecast also reflects the fifth consecutive year Maryland’s travel volume is expected to exceed 800,000 and reveals new record highs for auto and air travel for the holiday.


Maryland-area residents are ready to kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a trip,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “After a long winter and soggy spring, locals are ready to pack up the car, or catch a flight, bus or train in order to enjoy the warmer weather.”  


Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan joined AAA Mid-Atlantic and law enforcement officials today to kick off the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. The annual event, which was held at Hemingway’s Restaurant in Stevensville, with the Bay Bridge as a backdrop, included AAA travel projections and traffic safety initiatives, including AAA Mid-Atlantic’s recently launched distracted driving campaign, “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” The multi-year traffic safety effort seeks to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. It targets drivers who would never consider getting behind the wheel after drinking a beer or any other alcoholic beverage and, yet, will regularly use mobile devices while driving, dangerously taking their eyes and minds off the road.


Ocean City is looking forward to the start of summer this Memorial Day holiday weekend. There is no better place to spend time off this summer than Ocean City, and we have so many new and exciting features this year for our visitors to enjoy,” commented Mayor Meehan. “We ask everyone to please walk smart, drive smart and bike smart while you visit us, as well as be aware of the dangers of impaired and distracted driving: Don’t Drive Intoxicated, Don’t Drive Intexticated.” Ocean City’s Tourism Office will help promote AAA’s distracted driving campaign over the summer at area Visitor Centers and by airing the “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” Public Service Announcement (PSA) on Ocean City’s Public Access Channel.


2019 Projected Memorial Day Holiday Weekend Travel – Maryland

Travel Mode

Estimated # of Marylanders Traveling

Percentage of Travelers

Increase/Decrease Compared to 2018









 Other Modes










Automobile Travel Breaks Memorial Day Holiday Record Again

AAA estimates a record number of residents, 819,000 will drive to their destination, an increase of 3.4% from last year’s holiday. 


 “While the average price of gas across Maryland has been fluctuating in recent days, gas prices remain approximately 14 cents lower than they were last year over the Memorial Day weekend,” Averella added.  “Memorial Day travel projections suggest Marylanders will not be deterred by the cost of filling up.”


As of Tuesday, Maryland’s average price was $2.79 per gallon, two cents higher than last week, and up two cents from last month. Last year on Memorial Day, the average price for regular gasoline in Maryland was $2.98 per gallon. AAA does not anticipate prices to reach the record high levels seen back in 2014 when the statewide average was $3.66 per gallon.


Air Travel Hits New High

Marylanders will also take to the skies in record numbers, with over 74,500, an increase of 5.2% compared to 2018, expected to fly over the holiday.


“Air travel represents the highest percentage growth of all travel modes for the second consecutive year,” Averella said. “This is also only the second time, since AAA began tracking holiday travel, that air travel for the Memorial Day weekend has exceeded the 70,000-volume benchmark.”


According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are one percent higher than last Memorial Day, landing at an average price of $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes.


National Holiday Outlook

Nationally, the vast majority of travelers – 37.6 million – will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5% more than last year. An additional, 3.25 million people will take to the skies, 4.8% more than last year, second only to 2005. Nationally, travel by other modes – train, bus and cruise ship – is forecast to increase by 3.8% to 1.9 million passengers. “Despite national volume gains in travel by other modes, the Maryland forecast reflects no change in that category,” said Averella. 


Traffic Safety

The Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police and law enforcement officers across the State will be out patrolling the State’s highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. They are urging motorists to take responsibility while driving to keep themselves, their passengers and others on the road safe. Police Commanders and Mayor Meehan echoed the importance of AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” campaign and pledged to not drive intexticated.


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