AUSTIN, Texas - Memorial Day Weekend traditionally marks the unofficial start to summer, but for many in Central Texas and beyond, this year marks a return to normal when it comes to travel.
According to AAA, nearly 3 million Texans are expected to travel 50 miles more from now through Memorial Day. 2.8 million of those are expected to drive. Increases are also expected in the numbers of folks in our state traveling by bus and train.
Nationally, officials are expecting a 61% increase in travel volume over last year.
With CDC restrictions easing and vaccinations on the rise, the experts at AAA Texas say they really do see this weekend as a return to normal, and a return to heavy holiday traffic.
"With more people being vaccinated and certainly with summer driving season arriving, we anticipate a big increase in the number of people traveling here in Texas for Memorial Day," said Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas. "Friday afternoon we anticipate that there will be a lot of increased traffic, a lot more drivers on the roadway getting to their destination so pack your patience, avoid the evening afternoon commute if you can because that’s where you’re going to see the most congestion."
With CDC restrictions easing and vaccinations on the rise, experts say they really do see this weekend as a return to normal, and a return to heavy holiday traffic.
DPS will be stepping up enforcement on Texas highways this holiday weekend. Specifically, they will be looking for drivers who are speeding, impaired, or not wearing a seat belt, as well as those not moving over or slowing down for emergency or construction crews.
Something else to be on the lookout for: high gas prices, especially if you are traveling out of state. Nationally, as of Friday morning, the average price for a gallon of regular is at $3.04 a gallon, according to AAA. That is the highest price over Memorial Day Weekend since 2014.
Texas, meanwhile, is seeing prices on par with what we saw in 2018. As of Friday morning, the statewide average stands at $2.72, and $2.68 in the Austin metropolitan area.
"Most people are going to look at the price of gas and say I’m going to cut somewhere else, food or somewhere, lodging, but certainly with so many people staying at home for such a long period of time there’s so much pent-up demand that the price of gas will not really matter to most people when it comes to traveling, especially for Memorial Day," said Armbruster.
Something else to be aware of if you’re driving out of state are COVID restrictions. Some states still have mask mandates and capacity limits in effect, and AAA has a map showing all of that.