Traditionally, Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of the summer travel season. Unfortunately, it’s also become known as one of the busiest, and deadliest, weekends for travel. Numerous studies show that traffic violations and fatalities increase around Memorial Day.
Here are a few tips to make your holiday travel easier, and safer.
Few weekends are as busy at the airport as Memorial Day Weekend. What you should do:
1.) Arrive Early. The TSA recommends arriving two hours before your flight. Normally, this is a very conservative number unless you are flying out of one of the main hubs like O’Hare, Atlanta, Dulles, BWI etc. However, on Memorial Day Weekend, it’s solid advice.
2.) Pack light. Avoiding luggage check-in and baggage claims lines will greatly reduce your time spent in lines. If you’re just going for the weekend, pack a small overnight bag.
3.) Keep the size of your carry-on small. When flights are crowded, the airlines are more likely to enforce the carry-on size limitations. If you have to go back and check in your luggage, you’ve defeated the purpose of avoiding the baggage lines, and increased the likelihood your luggage won’t make it to your destination.
4.) Consider flying during off-peak hours. It will still likely be busier than normal, but it will still probably be a smoother, faster experience. Bring a small pillow and catch some sleep on the flight.
1.) The freeways will be busy. Consider adding extra time to your trip and taking some of the more scenic byways the US has to offer. You may find that the trip because just as much fun as the destination.
2.) Plan around rush hours. What can be nightmare traffic on a normal weekend becomes a parking lot during a holiday weekend. Plot out your trip so that you are avoiding large metro areas during traditional rush hours.
3.) Be careful at intersections. While drunk driving gets a lot of deserved attention on the holiday weekends, studies have shown that red violations increase tremendously during the holidays as people rush to get to their destination. Consider every intersection a potential danger zone.
4.) Time your trip. Since Memorial Day is on a Monday this year, many people will be trying to get home Monday night in time for work. Consider taking a holiday day on Tuesday and possibly even Wednesday to extend your trip. Late Friday afternoon will likely still be a high traffic time as people try to get a jump on the long holiday weekend.
Everyone enjoys a long holiday weekend, especially when it highlights the start of the summer season. Please travel smart and make sure your family has a stress-free, safe holiday.