May 22, 2024 - News

AAA predicts record Memorial Day travel in Colorado

Illustration of a suitcase covered in stickers from different states

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

This summer travel season is expected to break records once again in Colorado.

Driving the news: AAA suggests travel Memorial Day weekend will increase 4% year-over-year and rank as the second busiest on record and the busiest in nearly two decades.

  • An estimated 450,000 passengers will travel through Denver International Airport's security checkpoints, a 9% increase from the same period in 2023, officials say.

Why it matters: The increases demonstrate how travel is rebounding as the pandemic moves further from mind.

The big picture: Consumer spending is up 5.2% over the previous year and overall sentiment is up 17%, AAA notes.

  • "Remember that travel is fundamentally about economics: Despite stubborn inflation and storm clouds on the international horizon, consumer interest in travel is surging with trips abroad reaching their highest level in recent memory," AAA's Skyler McKinley said in a statement.

By the numbers: The vast majority of travelers will hit the road and find Colorado and Denver gas prices down from a year ago, according to a Gas Buddy analysis.

  • The state average for the holiday weekend is $3.35 compared to $3.47 a year ago, AAA reports.

The intrigue: At the airport, the busiest travel days are May 23-24 when an estimated 80,000 people will pass through security each day.

  • With construction on the Pikes Peak lot, DIA officials are directing cars to the Landside parking lot at 6975 Valley Head St. for overflow parking

Zoom in: The growth of United Airlines' hub in Denver is helping to drive summer travel. The airline expects its busiest Memorial Day on record with 3 million passengers nationwide.

  • United reports it will have more than 40 new summer flights from Denver, in particular to mountain getaway destinations, such as five nonstop flights a day to Yellowstone's airport.
  • Daily seasonal service to Anchorage, Alaska, starts Thursday.
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