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Memorial Day could set new NC record for travel, AAA predicts

A record number of North Carolinians are expected to travel over Memorial Day weekend as gas prices continue to ease nationwide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A record number of North Carolinians will travel over Memorial Day weekend, AAA data predicts. 

The most recent AAA forecast projects just over 1.2 million people will travel over 50 miles over the weekend. That's nearly 80,000 more than last year and 4,000 more than in 2019, the final year before the COVID-19 pandemic

"Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to what promises to be a very busy summer travel season," AAA vice president of travel Debbie Haas said. "Despite various inflationary pressures, consumer spending is strong, and Americans still want to travel. Because of that, we've seen demand come roaring back, beyond pre-pandemic levels in North Carolina."

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The overwhelming majority of those travelers will hit the highway. AAA forecasts 1.1 million North Carolinians will drive to their Memorial Day weekend destination. Whether it's the beautiful Carolina coast or the mountains for a start-of-summer celebration, there are plenty of great places to see across the Carolinas. 

Nationally, 42.3 million Americans are predicted to travel over the Memorial Day holiday. That's 2.7 million more than last year and includes nearly 3.4 million Americans who will travel by air. That's up 11% from last year, according to AAA's data. 

The Carolinas continue to be home to some of the lowest gas prices on the East Coast. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in North Carolina is $3.26, while South Carolina drivers are paying $3.16. The national average is $3.54, according to AAA. That's down from $4.59 a year ago. 

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