How to avoid the Memorial Day weekend travel headache

Planning to get away this Memorial Day Weekend?

You won’t be alone.

According to AAA, a projected 38 million Americans are traveling this holiday weekend—the most in a decade due to record low gas prices and airfare.

A recent AAA survey shows that 55 percent of Americans are more likely to take a road trip this year because of cheap gas. Most people in the U.S. are traveling by car (89 percent) but nearly 7 percent will take to the skies.

In addition to cheap gas, lower airfares are tempting travelers. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this Memorial Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $165, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index. Air travel is expected to be up 1.6 percent from the same time last year which could mean more TSA line woes.

So what’s a traveler to do?

Roads and airports are likely to be clogged so leave plenty of time to get to your destination.

Airlines are urging passengers to arrive at airports early-- meaning at least one to two hours earlier than usual, says Rick Seaney, CEO and co-founder of

If you’re hitting the road, try to anticipate issues that could pack on the travel time. AAA expects to aid more than 350,000 motorists during the holiday weekend. The chief culprits? Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires.  To prevent becoming the unwilling star of a road rescue operation, check your battery and tires before heading out on the highways. Have your oil changed, too.

Traveling by air? For domestic flights, passengers should arrive two hours ahead of a flight’s scheduled departure; three for international flights. For the holiday weekend, experts are advise adding at least an hour to those windows.

But if you haven’t booked your flight yet, and want to take advantage of last-minute fares, aim for an early morning flight, said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor with Orbitz.

“There is less volume early in the day,” and you might just sail through a shorter, faster TSA line.

If you haven't gotten on the PreCheck train yet and find yourself stuck in the regular TSA line, have our driver’s license and boarding pass ready, be prepared to take off your shoes-- and to have to wait while your possessions-- and those belonging to the hundreds of travelers around you-- are screened.

Jared Blank,  chief marketing officer for Deal News says a little patience goes a long way when it comes to busy Memorial Day weekend travel.

“Spending an extra hour or two in line is a small sacrifice for not missing your vacation.”