AAA travel booking data shows Memorial Day flight, rental car, cruise and hotel bookings up 122% over last year
AAA advises travelers on the best time to book flights, top destinations and where to stay this Memorial Day
With the official start of summer just six weeks away, AAA wants travelers to know if they’re planning a Memorial Day getaway, start now if you haven’t already. AAA Travel booking data shows that Memorial Day flight, rental car, cruise and hotel bookings are up 122% over last year.
“We’ve seen a noticeable increase in our travel bookings in early spring, which is a good indication of what to expect for the summer,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Despite inflation and rising gas prices, people want to travel and we believe they will find ways to do so without breaking their budget.”
Airline Tickets – Best (and Worst) Time to Book for Memorial Day
Recent AAA booking data shows the best time to buy a plane ticket is around two weeks before Memorial Day, with travelers paying an average of $445 per ticket. Those who like a longer planning window will pay a little more since flights booked 28 to 60 days before the holiday cost an average of $470 each. Sunday offers the lowest airfare followed by Friday (an average price of $543 and $596, respectively).
AAA reports that travelers looking for a last-minute deal while waiting to book Memorial Day week will end up paying almost double – an average of $845 per flight. AAA also wants travelers to know that in the past, the cheapest day to travel on Memorial Day weekend was always Saturday. This year, however, is the most expensive day to fly. As expected, Friday is the most popular air travel day and Memorial Day is the lightest.
When looking at the average airfare costs for each day over Memorial Day weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) for 2022 compared to 2021, flights skew about $160 more This year.
Think like an early bird
Travelers looking to get away for Memorial Day should start planning now. To maximize time, savings, and reduce stress, AAA recommends working with a trusted travel agent. These industry experts have many resources at their disposal to plan and organize a trip that fits a traveler’s specific needs and budget. They can easily examine a variety of options and scenarios to find deals and savings that aren’t always available to the public. AAA also offers travelers the following tips:
- Flexibility is key – where and when you travel – fly during off-peak hours/days, choose a hidden gem closer to home, or opt to stay at an all-inclusive resort with plenty of on-site activities. This limits the need for a rental car and paying a la carte for entertainment and meals.
- Book early – flights, hotels, tours, cruises, car rentals – the sooner the better to get the best rate and be sure to ask about discounts for prepayment. Something other than a travel agent can help navigate.
- Travel with your bubble – small-group travel grew in popularity during the pandemic when many chose to vacation with people they were in close contact with. Consider going on a group trip to spread out the costs for things like activities and accommodation. If everyone is scattered, a travel agent can help manage the logistics.
- – the first step in planning your trip is to purchase travel insurance. This provides a safety net if anything unexpected happens before or during your trip. This is another example where a travel agent is helpful. They know you, your trip, your budget and your specific needs and can easily tell you which travel insurance policy is best for you.
Top destinations include major cities and beaches
Travelers are targeting major cities and beaches for their Memorial Day getaways this year. These are the top 10 domestic destinations according to AAA bookings for flights, tours, car rentals and hotels:
- Orlando, Florida
- Seattle, WA
- Miami, Florida
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Anchorage, AK
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Boston, MA
- Anaheim, California
- New York, NY
- San Francisco, California
Travelers going abroad and choosing classic destinations such as:
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Paris, France
- Dublin, Ireland
- London, England
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Roma, Italy
- Cancun, Mexico
- Barcelona, Spain
- Budapest, Hungary
- Athens, Greece
For more than 80 years, AAA’s Diamond Program has helped travelers choose the best accommodations and restaurants when planning their vacations. These establishments must meet the AAA’s high standards of cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to earn this honor. At the heart of the Diamond program are AAA inspectors who are experienced industry experts working with the best interest of the traveler in mind. New hotels and restaurants are inspected annually and those that achieve the rating are added as new Diamond winners. For 2022, AAA has added 103 new four- and five-diamond hotels and restaurants, some of which are located in top Memorial Day destinations like Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Boston, Anaheim, New York and San Francisco. For the full list of these newly added Diamond winners, click here.
The pandemic has had a profound effect on travelers’ expectations for cleanliness, and AAA has evolved its Diamond program to meet this need. In 2021, AAA expanded its housekeeping assessment to include objective scientific validation of the cleanliness of common surfaces in all hotels. Every hotel that is inspected and part of the Diamond program must meet this standard and is recognized as Inspected Clean. To find a clean inspected, diamond rated property for your next trip, click here.