EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Even as gas prices reach historic highs, AAA says the unofficial start to summer will be a busy one.

With Memorial Day Weekend around the corner, AAA predicts that more than 39.2 million people will hit the road or take to the skies, which is an 8.3% increase from last year.

“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”

This year’s travel forecast is the second-highest single-year increase since 2010, bringing volumes almost to pre-pandemic levels. Of those travelers, 34.9 million people plan to travel by car, which is up 4.6% over last year.

“Even with a significant increase in gas prices, we expect a large jump in holiday driving compared to the last few years,” says Bob Pishue, Transportation Analyst, INRIX.

Though more people are driving this year compared to 2021, AAA says a greater portion of travelers are opting for air and other modes of travel than in previous years, indicating the price at the pump may be affecting how people choose to travel.

Transportation Secretary Bete Buttigieg spoke on gas prices over the weekend on CBS’ Face The Nation. While he doesn’t think Americans should be driving less, he says the administration is working on different ways to ease the pain at the pump.

“Look, what we want to do is create options for Americans to be able to get where they’re going more affordably. It’s why we up the fuel economy standards, so that by the 2026 model year, the cars will be so much more efficient. If you have a gas car that you have to fill up four times a month, it might be three now. Of course, we’re also working to make electric vehicles more affordable because that has a huge benefit,” he said.

Thursday and Friday are anticipated to be peak traffic days for those hitting the road, according to AAA, with Thursday being the busiest day for air travel.

AAA said the top destinations for this Memorial Day weekend include the following:

U.S DestinationsInternational Destinations
Orlando, Fla.Vancouver, Canada
Seattle, Wash.Dublin, Ireland
Miami, Fla.Paris, France
Las Vegas, Nev.Rome, Italy
Anaheim, Calif.London, England
New York, N.Y.Cancun, Mexico
Denver, Clo.Amsterdam, Netherlands
Anchorage, AKBarcelona, Spain
Boston, MANassau, Bahamas
Honolulu, HICalgary, Canada