Here’s Memorial Day’s Best and Worst Travel Times

Cars are lined up in a row of traffic.
Christian Mueller/

Memorial Day might not actually be the first day of summer (that doesn’t come until June), but for most people, it’s the unofficial kick-off to the season. That typically means a day off work and some potential travel to celebrate with friends and family. So if you are planning to travel for Memorial Day, is there a best time?

According to AAA, Memorial Day’s best and worst travel times can make a big difference in how stressful your holiday travel is.

AAA partnered with transportation data service INRIX to predict the days that will be best and worst for traveland according to the service Friday, May 26 will be the worst day to hit the road. You can try to avoid the biggest rush by traveling in the morning or waiting until after 6 p.m. to drive to your destination, but it’s best to expect delays.

The same is true for Memorial Day itself. Traffic will be quite busy between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. as Tuesday, May 30, the day after the holiday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. If you’re heading to see people, leave before Friday and early in the morning on Memorial Day itself or the day after.

Now, as for the best times, head out on Thursday, May 25, before 1 p.m. or before 12 p.m. on Friday, May 26. When it’s time to head home, do so on Sunday, May 28 at any time or before 10 a.m. on Memorial Day.

Overall, 42.3 million people are set to travel over Memorial Day weekend, so if you’re one of them, gas up your car early and make some strategic plans to avoid traffic.

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