▶️ AAA expects huge holiday travel weekend; Bend a top destination

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AAA projects a significant rebound in the number of Americans traveling this Memorial Day weekend.

Nationwide, 37 million Americans plan to travel more than 50 miles from home.

Many of them…probably coming here.

“People want to get out and explore again. See friends and family they haven’t been able to see in over a year.”

Marie Dodds of AAA Oregon says there is a huge demand for travel, not just for Memorial Day weekend but all summer long.

“When we asked members of AAA Oregon where they are going, Central Oregon is always in the top 5. This year it comes in as the second most popular road trip destination,” she said. “Number one is a bit of surprise; it’s the national parks of Utah so people are deciding to venture out a bit farther than they normally do.”

Nearly half a million Oregonians are expecting to travel Memorial Day weekend, a 60% increase over last year.

Many of them are flying.

Boardings at the Redmond Airport are up 105% so far this month compared to May 2020.

“What we are seeing is this kind of pent-up leisure vacation demand. Hey, we can travel now, we are going to travel,” said Zach Bass, Redmond Airport Manager. “We do expect Memorial Day to be very busy. We expect most of the summer to e busy. We are questioning how long this lasts until we get back to a kind of normal flow of travel.”

But travel professionals strongly discourage piling the kids in the car and setting out on a play it by ear adventure.

“You really need to book everything in advance. That includes your lodging, your camping, your amusement parks, museums…anything you need a reservation for, do that in advance,” Dodds said. “Many establishments are still operating under capacity restrictions and reduced hours. You want to make sure you don’t get stuck with no place to go.”

Travelers in Oregon will find gas prices at their highest in two years, while the national gas price average will be the highest in seven years.

The price increases are due to rising demand and the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack that affected fuel supplies on the east coast.

For the week, the national average is $3.04 a gallon.

The Oregon average is $3.41.

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