Record high gas prices won’t stop New Jerseyans from Memorial Day travel
It takes a lot to scare someone from New Jersey.
Not even record-high gas prices can frighten them from traveling this Memorial Day weekend, according to the latest AAA projections.
New Jersey travel
More than 936,000 New Jersey residents plan to travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend, said AAA MidAtlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble.
As usual, the majority will be driving to their destinations. She said about 92% of Jersey travelers will be hitting the road for the three-day getaway, up about 5% compared to last year despite out-of-control gas prices.
"Everything that we've heard so far is that people have this pent-up energy to return to travel. They've curbed their travel over the past couple of years because of the pandemic and they are eager to have a normal summer," Noble said.
That being said, they may curb their spending in other ways. They may not eat out as much. They may shorten their trips. But they are determined to go, she added.
Air travel is up more than 23% over Memorial Day weekend last year, with AAA projecting that more than 61,000 New Jerseyans will take to the skies. Noble said travel by other modes of transportation is up over 215% over last year, with 15,000 Jersey residents training, bussing, or cruising to their holiday destinations.
"With the mask restrictions lifted, with a lot of the COVID testing restrictions lifted in different areas, people are flying. They're ready to go. They've made their plans and they're going to stick to them," Noble said.
The increase in the number of Jersey residents traveling over the holiday weekend mirrors national projections.
From May 26 through May 30, more than 39 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more, an increase of more than 8% over last year. More than 35 million will be driving. More than 3 million will be flying, an almost 25% increase over last year, but still slightly below pre-pandemic air travel.
AAA reports the most significant increase over last year is the number of holiday travelers going by train bus or cruise---more than 1.3 million, which is an overwhelming 200% increase over 2021 travel.
Get the car road-ready
"Whether you will be driving, flying, or taking some other mode of transportation over the holiday weekend, planning ahead is key to ensuring the best travel experience," Noble said.
Drivers should make sure the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes, and fluid levels are up to par before hitting the road.
Breaking down while going on vacation or returning from one is never fun. She said AAA expects to respond to more than 6,800 calls for help between Thursday and Monday, just in New Jersey alone.
Pack an emergency kit complete with a fully charged cellphone and charges, jumper cables, first-aid kit, flare or flashlight with extra batteries, a few extra blankets, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, and extra medicines.
Preparing for the sky
Check the flight status before leaving for the airport. Don't make a wasted trip.
Get there early. Airports will be crowded. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
Review TSA guidelines for getting through security and pack accordingly.
And as Noble always reminds us before traveling, especially during holidays when the crowds are more than expected, "remember to pack your patience."
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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