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The rush to travel for Memorial Day, explained

The country’s highways and airports are expected to be packed with people marking the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day weekend. Travel volumes are expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, according to recent data from the FAA and AAA.

Last year, the TSA reported passenger volumes that slightly exceeded those of 2019 for the leg from the Thursday before Memorial Day to the following Wednesday.

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This year, airlines are preparing for an even busier weekend, with more than 269,000 flights scheduled from Thursday to Tuesday, up from more than 264,000 in the same period last year.

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AAA also forecasts a significant increase in air travel, with more than 3.5 million people expected to fly over Memorial Day weekend in 2024, reflecting a 9% increase from 2019.

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Across all transportation methods, AAA projects nearly 44 million travelers, which could be the most since 2005. The vast majority of American travelers (nearly 90%, according to AAA) will opt for the country’s roads.

For the more than 38 million travelers who will drive the AAA projects, gas prices will average about $3.65 per gallon nationwide, starting May 23. Prices vary dramatically by region, with the highest levels on the West Coast: In California, a gallon of regular gasoline averages about $5.16. On the contrary, motorists in the south will find the prices cheaper, with Mississippi having the lowest price: just over $3.

View this interactive content on CNN.com

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