Report: Memorial Day weekend will be busiest for travelers since 2005

Bad news for people who hate waiting in holiday traffic: On Wednesday, the American Automobile Association (AAA) released a report predicting that this will be the busiest Memorial Day for travelers in over a decade.

In the report, AAA predicts that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend. That number marks an increase of one million travelers from 2016 and represents the highest number of American travelers since 2005.

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AAA suggests trying to travel on Memorial Day itself to avoid some of the congestion. Photo: Courtesy of Pexels

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” Bill Sutherland, AAA’s senior vice president of travel and publishing, said in the report. “Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”

Of the more than 39 million Americans who are traveling this Memorial Day weekend, AAA predicts the vast majority — 34.6 million (or 88.1 percent) — will drive to their destinations, meaning that the highways in and around major cities across the country could be hellish for travelers.

“With 34.6 million people traveling by car over Memorial Day weekend, drivers should plan for crowded highways, remember to pack their patience, and allow plenty of extra time to get to their destinations safely,” AAA spokeswoman Julie Hall told NBC News.

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If the traffic is unavoidable, AAA Hall suggests getting in touch with your inner zen and just embracing it. Photo: Courtesy of Shiyang Huang/Flickr

Beyond trying to maintain a long fuse, Hall also gave NBC News some more practical advice for those looking to avoid nightmarish congestion on the highways.

“If your schedule permits, consider traveling on the holiday itself, when there is often less congestion and fewer crowds,” said Hall.

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