THE WORST TIMES TO TRAVEL FOR MEMORIAL DAY

More than 40 million Americans will take to the roads to kick off the weekend

AAA World Article

Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of summer, and it’s expected that more than 40 million Americans will take to the roads to kick off the weekend celebrations. That’s more travelers than in the past 12 years.

In 2018, AAA saw a 5% increase of traffic on the roads over 2017, and expect even more this year. 

To avoid the most congestion and skip the traffic, your best option is to take Friday off work and leave in the mid-morning. In some U.S. cities, leaving at peak travel times could mean your trip takes 1.5 – 2.5 times longer than normal.

If you can’t take Friday off, you should at least avoid peak commute times: 3 – 7PM. These times have both commuters heading home after work, as well as holiday travelers.

Here are the worst days and times to travel in some of the most popular metro areas in the U.S., according to a report by INRIX, Inc.

City Worst Day for Travel    Worst Time for Travel Delay Multiplier of Normal Trip 
  Atlanta, GA   Thursday, May 23   3:30-5:30 PM   1.6x
  Houston, TX   Thursday, May 23   4:30-6:00 PM   1.5x
  Boston, MA   Thursday, May 23   4:30-6:30 PM   1.8x
  Washington, D.C.   Thursday, May 23   4:30-7:00 PM   2.3x
  San Francisco, CA   Friday, May 24   3:00-5:30 PM   1.7x
  Los Angeles, CA   Friday, May 24   3:30-5:30 PM   1.9x
  New York, NY   Friday, May 24   3:30-6:30 PM   2.7x
  Detroit, MI   Friday, May 24   4:00-5:30 PM   1.5x
  Chicago, IL   Friday, May 24   4:00-6:00 PM   2.1x
  Seattle, WA   Friday, May 24   4:00-6:00 PM   1.8x
Source: INRIX, Inc.

Even if you don’t live in one of the most populated metro areas, you should still avoid traveling on Thursday or Friday during these times. This year, AAA even expects an increase of commuters on Wednesday evening. Leave before or after these peak times, or wait until Saturday.