Tennesseans are forecast to travel in record numbers for Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA’s 2023 Memorial Day Travel Forecast, over 882,000 Tennesseans will journey 50 miles or more. That’s 53,000 more than last year and 13,000 more than before the pandemic, in 2019.
Tennessee travel numbers are set to reach new record highs in both total travel and air travel categories. An estimated 751,000 Tennesseans will drive, which is 40,500 more than last year. Meanwhile, 96,000 are forecast to fly, which is 7,300 more passengers than last year’s holiday.
For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.
Road construction will not delay motorists as they travel Tennessee’s highways this Memorial Day weekend. The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced it will suspend all construction-related lane closures on interstates and state routes beginning at noon on Friday, May 26 through 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30.
“Suspending construction-related lane closures during the Memorial Day weekend will lessen congestion and delays on Tennessee’s major highways,” said Commissioner Butch Eley. “We want to do our part to help everyone have an enjoyable and safe holiday weekend and keep traffic flowing as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”
Gas prices have moved lower in recent weeks, yet It’s too early to know if that downward trend will continue in the lead-up to the summer kick-off. However, it’s unlikely that prices will come anywhere near the state average that holiday travelers paid last year of $4.27 per gallon.
“Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to what promises to be a very busy summer travel season,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Despite various inflationary pressures, consumer spending is strong, and Americans still want to travel. Because of that, we’ve seen demand come roaring back, beyond pre-pandemic levels in Tennessee.”
Friday, May 26 will be the busiest day on the roads, according to INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights. The best times to travel by car, during the holiday weekend, will be in the morning or evening after 6 p.m. The lightest traffic days will be Saturday and Sunday.