AAA says Memorial Day travel 'likely to set a record low'

AAA says Memorial Day travel 'likely to set a record low'

AAA announced Thursday that travel on Memorial Day is "likely to set a record low" amid the national coronavirus outbreak.

The organization said it would not issue a travel forecast for the holiday weekend because the COVID-19 crisis has limited the accuracy of economic data it typically uses to generate a report, according to a news release.

The group cited anecdotal reports indicating that fewer people would travel this year, as not every state has lifted local or state-wide restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.

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Paula Twidale, senior vice president of the organization, said 2019 was the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began recording data in 2000.

"Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend," she said, adding, "With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend's travel volume is likely to set a record low."

In 2009, toward the end of the recession, AAA recorded the current lowest travel volumes for the holiday weekend at 31 million travelers.

AAA said it expects to make travel forecasts for late summer and fall seasons, assuming more states begin lifting quarantine measures.

The agency also added that low travel volumes are more typical during election years. 

"AAA travel experts say that's common during a presidential election year, when many travelers hold off on international travel because they want to see how the election will affect the economy or international relations," the release said. "This year, the phenomenon is amplified by concerns about the pandemic."