For the first time in 20 years, the American Automobile Association (AAA) will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization says the annual forecast – which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend – will return next year.
Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season.
“With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President, AAA Travel.
“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.”
Memorial Day 2009 currently holds the record for the lowest travel volume at nearly 31 million travelers, according to AAA. That holiday weekend, which came toward the end of the Great Recession, 26.4 million Americans traveled by car, 2.1 million by plane and nearly two million by other forms of transportation.
AAA expects to make travel projections for the late summer and fall, assuming states ease travel restrictions and businesses reopen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that Americans stay home and avoid nonessential travel.