Memorial Day weekend could be third busiest since 2000

With Memorial Day weekend just hours away, the holiday is expected to be the third busiest since 2000.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:37 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With Memorial Day weekend just hours away, travel experts at AAA say the holiday is expected to be the third busiest since 2000.

In Kansas the number of travelers this Memorial Day weekend is up 8% from last year’s holiday.

“We have over 42 million Americans and 358,000 Kansas residents traveling this weekend and a big reason for that really is that after the pandemic people really are wanting to escape. They’re wanting to travel now. There’s not as much of a threat than there was before and people are ready and they’re itching to get out of their hometown,” says Public Government Affairs Manager for AAA, Riley Mansuetti.

AAA says air travel over the holiday weekend is projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with about 5.4% more passengers, than in 2019.

“We are seeing a huge increase in air travel. It’s up 11% over last year and it could be the busiest air travel since 2005,” says Mansuetti.

Experts say road travel remains the most popular.

“Friday after work I’ll drive out there and I’ll probably stay in Colby and then the next morning wake up and make the rest of the trip,” says Topeka resident, Walter Cox.

Law enforcement officials say the holiday weekend is also one of the most dangerous for drivers.

“During Memorial Day weekend we see an increase of traffic fatalities and those fatalities typically relate to speeding as well as impaired driving and distracted driving. I think those are the three big things. I just always want to remind motorists that you cannot control other drivers and other vehicles so you better be really good at controlling yourself and controlling your vehicle. In doing so, you are going to put yourself in a better position to not get involved in a crash and if one would occur to better position yourself to reduce and survive that crash,” says Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper, Ben Gardner.

Experts say gas prices are lower this holiday compared to last year when the national average was more than $4 a gallon.