Better leave early: Record-setting traffic expected Memorial Day weekend

Better leave early: Record-setting traffic expected Memorial Day weekend
Memorial Day Weekend traffic is expected to be worse than usual this year. (Here, commuters smake their Memorial Day Weekend getaway in 2011.) (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

AAA predicts that travel over Memorial Day weekend will be the busiest in a decade.

The 2015 Memorial Day Travel Forecast says 37.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home by car, train or air between May 21 and 25, a 4.7% increase from the number of holiday travelers last year.


Why the big jump? Blame it on the harsh winter in the Midwest and East, creating pent-up demand, or maybe gas prices, which have dropped.

Whatever the reason, AAA says you can expect to see 33 million of those travelers on the road and 2.6 million in the air.

The number of travelers taking a bus or train or going on a cruise is expected to drop 3.6% this year, a AAA statement says.

When it comes to how much your Memorial Day trip will cost, AAA says you can expect to pay a little more for lodging: $144 a night for a two-diamond (its ranking system) hotel and $182 a night at a three-diamond hotel.

If you are still in the planning stages, GoBankingRates identified the cheapest and most expensive cities for a vacation. It used four variables in calculating the lists: the cost of hotels, airfares, food and drink, and transportation.

Las Vegas leads the list of 10 Most Affordable Vacation Cities in the U.S., followed by

2. Jacksonville, Fla.

3. Orlando, Fla. (note, this doesn't account for theme park tickets)

4. Kansas City, Mo.

5. Detroit

6. Albuquerque

7. Grand Rapids, Mich.

8. Salt Lake City


9. Memphis, Tenn.

10. Denver

On the pricey side, New York City topped the Least Affordable Vacation Cities list. Three California cities were deemed least affordable too: Santa Barbara (2), San Francisco (3) and Los Angeles (8).