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When, how you should travel for Memorial Day weekend

Roads will garner the most travelers over Memorial Day weekend, but airports are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — According to AAA, 42.3 million people will be traveling for Memorial Day weekend. 

Roads will garner the most travelers but airports are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels. Officials at the Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) say that is not the case for memorial day travel. 

“What you see here is that this is a big drive region, so it’s one of those things in which we actually have over Memorial Day, July 4th, a little bit of a decline in traffic than what you see during the week because there’s no business travel,” said Scott Miller, spokesperson for HIA. 

Around 18,000 people will be flying in and out of HIA starting today through Monday. Miller said although the number sounds large, it’s a 3% to 4% decrease compared to last year. Some contributing factors are airfare, staffing shortages and the number of flights available to passengers. 

“The reason for that is, there are few fewer flights, there aren’t that many pilots and crews out there as there were a year ago, and additional fares are higher, not only here but airports throughout the country,” said Miller. 

Miller said HIA has more business travel than leisure travel, so when it comes to Memorial Day, more people are staying home or driving to their destination. After this holiday weekend, traffic at the airport should start to increase as the summer approaches. 

Officials with AAA say the roads will certainly be busy.

They said more than 37 million people will be hitting the roads Memorial Day weekend, an increase of 6 percent since last year.

AAA and PennDOT said the increase is due to gas prices decreasing nationwide. In Pennsylvania, they said drivers are paying $1 per gallon less this compared to last year.

However, even with lower gas prices, AAA said roadway travel will be lower compared to pre-pandemic levels.

They recommend hitting the road before 1 p.m. on Thursday or 12 p.m. on Friday for the best travel conditions. The worst times to travel both days are expected to be between 3 and 6 p.m.

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