70% More Travelers Expected for Memorial Day Weekend Compared to 2016

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New York City continues to be the top destination of choice for Memorial Day travelers.

Memorial Day is the holiday during which we remember and honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in active military service. However, over the years, it has evolved to become the de-facto start of the summer travel season. As the first three-day weekend of the year that takes place right after warm weather has spread across the country, it provides the perfect opportunity to get out and hit the road for a fun adventure.

Every year, more and more Americans use the long weekend as an opportunity to travel and, each year, the number of people taking advantage of the extra day off keeps getting bigger. To find out whether travel trends have shifted this time around, we looked into Wanderu’s trip booking data and, as you can see below, Memorial Day weekend 2017 is certainly shaping out to be a travel force to be reckoned with.

The information below is based on data available through Wanderu’s reservation system and represents bus and train tickets that were booked for travel within North America in the period of May 25-30, 2017 compared to tickets booked for the period of May 26-31, 2016. The information is below is based on data for trips booked through Wanderu’s website and mobile app by May 17, 2017 (for 2017 data) and by May 18, 2016 (for 2016 data).

Memorial Day Weekend Travelers: 2017 vs. 2016

Based on the amount of people who have already booked their trips, this year’s Memorial Day weekend is expecting a staggering 70% increase in the number of travelers.

To accommodate the influx of people traveling for the long weekend, leading ground travel carriers such as Greyhound, Megabus and Peter Pan are ready to run more than one bus for each scheduled departure to avoid long wait lines and delays. Regional carriers have prepared for the long weekend by increasing schedule frequency by as much as 50% for the routes that they cover.

Last-Minute Bookers

The number of travelers is expected to get even higher, as the majority of bus and train travelers book their trips only a couple days before their departure date. In fact, as you can see in the table below, last year, 65.5% of all travelers booked their trips only five days or less prior to Memorial Day weekend. Out of all bookings, 37.4% were made less than 24 hours before departure.

2016

5 days or less 65.5%
1 day or less 37.4%

The Most Popular Destinations for Memorial Day Weekend

Here are the top 20 destinations across North America where people are traveling for Memorial Day by bus or train. On the right, you can see the top three cities from which people are traveling to each destination.

Destination Top Origin Points
1. New York, NY Boston, MA Washington, D.C. Cambridge, MA
2. Washington, D.C. New York, NY Philadelphia, PA Newark, NJ
3. Boston, MA New York, NY Montreal, QC Providence, RI
4. Philadelphia, PA New York, NY Washington, D.C. Boston, MA
5. Seattle, WA Vancouver, BC Portland, OR Louisville, KY
6. Cambridge, MA New York, NY Hartford, CT Providence, RI
7. Providence, RI New York, NY Boston, MA New Haven, CT
8. Baltimore, MD New York, NY Washington, D.C. Newark, NJ
9. Los Angeles, CA Las Vegas, NV San Francisco, CA San Diego, CA
10. Montreal, QC New York, NY Boston, MA Washington, D.C.
11. Vancouver, BC Seattle, WA Spokane, WA Bellingham, WA
12. Las Vegas, NV Los Angeles, CA San Francisco, CA San Diego, CA
13. Chicago, IL St. Louis, MO Columbus, OH Detroit, MI
14. Portland, OR Seattle, WA Boston, MA Vancouver, BC
15. Newark, NJ Washington, D.C. Baltimore, MD Philadelphia, PA
16. San Diego, CA Los Angeles, CA San Francisco, CA Phoenix, AZ
17. Toronto, ON New York, NY Buffalo, NY Rochester, NY
18. Buffalo, NY New York, NY Toronto, ON Rochester, NY
19. St. Louis, MO Chicago, IL Kansas City, MO Hannibal, MO
20. Orlando, FL Miami, FL Tampa, FL West Palm Beach, FL

Average Ticket Prices* for Top Destinations: 2016 vs. 2017

As a result of the huge surge in number of travelers this year, most of the top destinations saw an increase in the average price for a bus or train ticket. However, travelers who have chosen New England as their preferred place to spend Memorial Day weekend are in for a nice surprise as prices to Boston, Cambridge and Providence have dropped significantly compared to 2016.

Destination 2016 2017 % Change
New York, NY $24.73 $32.29 + 30.6%
Washington, D.C. $30.41 $40.16 + 32%
Boston, MA $49.85 $43.82 - 12.1%
Philadelphia, PA $30.85 $41.09 + 33.2%
Seattle, WA $22.61 $68.69 + 203.8%
Cambridge, MA $28.30 $14.78 - 48%
Providence, RI $31.10 $ 24.96 - 19.7%
Baltimore, MD $27.80 $26.37 - 5.1%
Los Angeles, CA $29.71 $31.12 + 4.8%
Montreal, QC $50 $80.59 +61.2%

*Based on the average price of all bus and train travel options available to each destination.

Average Ticket Prices** for Top Routes: 2016 vs. 2017

One of the most popular routes among Wanderu users, Boston to New York, is seeing a 24% surge in bus and train fares, while Angelenos looking to spend Memorial Day weekend in Sin City can save an average of 18.5% on their trips, compared to last year.

Route 2016 2017 % Change
Boston, MA to New York, NY $30.46 $37.76 + 24%
New York, NY to Washington, D.C. $30.47 $31.52 + 3.5%
Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV $31.93 $26.02 - 18.5%
San Francisco, CA to Los Angeles, CA $42.70 $38.57 - 10%
Montreal, QC to Boston, MA $79.50 $79.35 - 0.2%

**Based on the average price of all bus and train travel options available to each route.

As evident from the data above, Memorial Day weekend is going to be one of the busiest holidays of the year when it comes to travel. As a result, it has strongly affected the bus and train travel trends within North America, bringing a record number of travelers on the roads across the U.S. and Canada.

In case you wanna get away but still haven’t made any travel plans, there are still plenty of bus & train tickets available on www.wanderu.com.

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About the author
Staffo Dobrev

Staffo Dobrev

Having lived in some of the greatest cities in the world, Staffo has always had a soft spot for travel and adventures. Instead of hitting the usual tourist attractions, though, Staffo prefers to make friends with local people and check out fun places and activities that are not in the travel books.
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