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Memorial Day 2023: The Cheapest Destinations & Best Days to Travel

Don't let rising prices keep you from enjoying your long weekend! We've got the lowdown on the best Memorial Day dates and destinations for an epic trip that won't break the bank.

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, it’s time to dust off those sun hats and start packing your bags. As the unofficial start to the summer travel season, this holiday offers a chance to escape the daily grind and explore new destinations.

But traveling can be expensive, and your bank account might not be feeling as adventurous as you are. Don’t let a tight bank account ruin your wanderlust dreams. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can still have a fantastic trip without breaking the bank. 

And if you need a little help, Wanderu’s got your back. Wanderu is your go-to for comparing and booking bus and train tickets, which means we have unique access to pricing trends across the ground travel industry. Our team scoured through a mountain of travel data to see how prices have changed compared to last year, plus highlight the cheapest times to book your bus or train tickets for your Memorial Day getaway.

Check out our cheapest Memorial Day destinations and best days to travel to give yourself (and your wallet) the long weekend you deserve.

Travel Prices for Popular Memorial Day 2023 Destinations

We’ve compiled the most popular Memorial Day destinations based on ticket bookings in 2022 and 2023, and compared the prices between this year and last to investigate the impact of inflation on bus and train prices. With all that data organized in one convenient table, our aim is to help you make informed decisions about budgeting and organizing your Memorial Day getaway.

Table depicting the change in average price for bus and train tickets year over year.

When it comes to Memorial Day destinations, everyone has their own preferences. Some people love to celebrate our nation’s history in Boston or Philadelphia, others prefer to head to sunny places like LA or Orlando to kick start their summer tans, and some just enjoy the chance to visit family or friends. Regardless of where you go, Memorial Day offers a long weekend with generally nice weather, making it a perfect time for a mini-vacation. 

If you’re planning on traveling this Memorial Day, you’ll be pleased to hear that bus fares have, on average, decreased this year — with a few exceptions, like Orlando and Atlanta. Despite inflation impacting the travel industry as a whole, many destinations are more affordable to visit by bus this year than in 2022.

On the other hand, train fares are a bit more of a mixed bag. While some destinations have slightly higher fares than in 2022, taking the train to big cities like New York City and Chicago is actually cheaper than last year. But, if you’re on a tight budget and looking for the best deals, taking the bus is still your best bet.

The Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Memorial Day 2023 Destinations

Go on and game the system. We picked out three cities that have travel options significantly cheaper than last year — what other expenses can you say have dropped since 2022?

To get the absolute most bang for your buck this Memorial Day, look no further than Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Seattle. The average bus fare to each of these cities has dropped more than 30% compared to last year. As an added bonus, these cities are stuffed with free activities to stretch your dollars even further.

Philadelphia, PA

Independence Hall

With its rich history and patriotic landmarks, Philadelphia is a great place to learn about the country’s past in honor of Memorial Day. Check out Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, and marvel at the iconic Liberty Bell. Best of all, many of the city’s top attractions are free to visit, making it a perfect budget destination this Memorial Day.

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Harbor

Baltimore is a charming and affordable city to visit. Stroll through the Inner Harbor to see historic ships and enjoy street performers. Visit the National Aquarium, one of the largest in the country, and take advantage of free things to do in the city, like the Baltimore Museum of Art. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of the city’s famous crab cakes and explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Fells Point and Hampden.

Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market

Seattle is known for its coffee culture, fresh seafood, and iconic landmarks like the Space Needle.  For budget-friendly activities, visitors can check out some of Seattle’s free admission museums or take a walk along the scenic waterfront. Dodge flying fish at the famous Pike Place Market, enjoy the natural beauty of the city’s many parks and green spaces, or continue on to Leavenworth for a Bavarian mountain escape.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to travel to New England this Memorial Day, you may want to opt for the bus. Train tickets to popular destinations like Boston, Springfield, Albany, and Buffalo are more expensive than last year, on average. 

But don’t let that deter you from exploring the region’s charming coastal towns, picturesque mountains, and quaint villages! By taking the bus, you can keep prices low and enjoy all the beauty the Northeast has to offer.

The Cheapest Travel Days Over Memorial Day Weekend 2023

A three-day weekend doesn’t offer a ton of wiggle room on your travel dates, but we know frugal travelers will be flexible if it means saving big on their trip. We checked out the average daily price of bus tickets and train tickets for each day during and around Memorial Day weekend to scope out your cheapest possible itinerary.

Bus ticket prices remain relatively stable throughout the long weekend, only varying by a few dollars on average. If you’re looking to save a few extra bucks, consider traveling on Sunday or Tuesday instead of Friday. While Friday may be slightly more expensive, the price difference typically doesn’t exceed 10%, so go ahead and plan your getaway without stressing too much about the cost of your bus ticket.

There’s a bit more fluctuation when it comes to train prices. Traveling on the Saturday before Memorial Day instead of Friday can save you up to 10%, and traveling back on Tuesday instead of Monday can save you up to 7%. While these percentages aren’t ground-breaking savings, they’re nothing to sniff at if you’re booking a pricier ticket.

When to Book your Memorial Day Vacation

When it comes to booking Memorial Day travel, the sooner you book, the better. Bus and train tickets tend to get more expensive as the holiday weekend approaches. 

Booking 4 weeks in advance could save you 30% on bus fare or 20% on train fare compared to booking 1 week in advance. Even if you can’t plan quite that far ahead, booking 2 weeks ahead of your trip can still save you 9% on average. Even small savings add up quickly, and the longer you wait, the more the fares increase.

TL;DR: Book now before prices go up!


Our approach to finding the cheapest Memorial Day destinations and travel information was about as scientific as you can get with a dash of common sense thrown in. We analyzed travel data from the past two Memorial Day weekends to determine the most popular destinations based on the total number of tickets booked for both 2022 and 2023. 

From there, we crunched the numbers on bus and train prices for each destination, taking into account both years and the percentage increase or decrease in average ticket prices. We also calculated the cheapest and most expensive days to travel during the holiday weekend by analyzing the average bus and train ticket prices for each day of the long weekend. 

And to help you save a few extra bucks, we reviewed the pricing trends from last year and calculated the average ticket price when booked 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, and 1 week in advance. Science meets travel — that’s how we roll.

Planning Memorial Day Travel with Wanderu

Whether you’re dreaming of sun-soaked beaches like the Florida Keys, a scenic road trip from Boston to Cape Cod, or just want to snap some Instagram-worthy pics in our nation’s stunning national parks, Wanderu has the inside scoop on all the best destinations for Memorial Day

Plus, our website and app make it easy to book an affordable family trip to save some serious cash without leaving Kevin home alone. So what are you waiting for? Make some memories this Memorial Day!

You are welcome to use the information on this page, crediting Wanderu. If you do so, please link back to this page so wanderers around the world can see how we did this study.

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About the author
Kaitlin Cabaniss

Kaitlin Cabaniss

Kaitlin is the SEO Content Coordinator with Wanderu and an avid traveler, having visited more than 30 countries so far. When not helping people find the best deals on bus and train travel, Kaitlin spends her free time hiking, drawing, and riding horses.

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