Memorial Day Weekend travel increase expected over 2020
RAPID CITY, S.D. — With more flights in the air and cars on the roads, travel this Memorial Day Weekend will see a sharp increase over 2020.
This year, more than 37 million people nationwide are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. In South Dakota, 65% of people interviewed in a AAA survey are planning on taking a trip this summer.
“People are just ready to get out of their houses and be done with COVID,” said S.D. AAA District Director, Rhonda Keller. “So that’s really the reason for the big increase, compared to last year. Last year in may we were just starting COVID-19 and the pandemic, and this year, we’re at a totally different place, and people are just excited to get out. Get out on the roads or get on a plane.”
For those taking road trips, AAA encourages drivers to make sure their cars are service, insured, and to pack their patience.
“Just be prepared to be slow in traffic with construction, or to be stuck with a lot of cars on the road,” said Keller. “So, just pack your patience, take your time getting there.”
There is also an increase in flights that is expected to last through the summer.
After a historically low year of air travel, this Memorial Day will see nearly 2.5 million Americans boarding planes. Nearly six times more than last year.
“Rapid City is always hyper seasonal, so we’re far busier in the summer months due to the tourism traffic,” said Rapid City Regional Airport Executive Director, Patrick Dame. “So, we’ve been over the last five, six years building our seasonal non-stop flights. We had a temporary setback in COVID, and now we’re seeing a strong bounce back in that.”
Rapid City Regional Airport is expecting a record summer, particularly in August. In the next two weeks, the airport will begin adding 26 seasonal non-stop destinations. To make life easier, airport staff ask that flyer’s arrive early and remain patient as there may be longer wait times.