Memorial Day travel; millions expected to hit the road


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Memorial weekend is approaching and some of you may be hitting the road or flying out of town.

AAA Motor Club, Public Affairs Specialist, Nick Chabarria says it expects over $37 million people to travel this weekend and the large majority of them will be driving.

If you want to beat the rush out on the road, you want to avoid leaving Thursday and Friday afternoon because those are the busiest travel times.

His advice is to plan ahead and prepare for delays.

Pack some food, water, phone charging devices, and other things you may need to make your ride comfortable but to also reduce the number of times you have to stop.

Now if heading towards the I-40 bridge closure between Memphis and Arkansas you can expect more time added to your trip.

“Luckily it is not an unforeseen event. It’s been an issue now for a couple of weeks, so make sure you are planning your route accordingly. Make sure to leave extra time for increased delays which are like to happen with the detours with I-55,” said Chabarria.

When it comes to gas prices, Chabarria says the natural state is currently averaging around $2.76 a gallon. This is the highest memorial day price since 2014 but Arkansas’ gas prices overall are still one of the cheapest compared to other states.

Roads will be packed with folks heading out of town and car rentals are in high demand. If you haven’t booked yet Chabarria says an affordable car is going to be hard to find. Here’s why.

The car rental industry took a hit during the pandemic and when travel was down last year and restrictions were in place, many companies sold off a lot of their fleet or inventory. – that’s according to AAA.

Chabarria tells us some rental companies looking to buy new vehicles are now dealing with another problem, a global car shortage.

He says that’s because there’s a shortage in a critical microchip needed in cars and now some auto manufacturers are having a tough time meeting demand.

“Inventory is low right for a lot of car rental companies, we do know that prices have increased compared to last year and even before… so what we recommend is really looking ahead,” said Chabarria.

AAA says it could take months before this issue is resolved.

Again, if you know you will be renting a car try to book weeks or months in advance and try to be flexible with your travel dates and times.

Now, if you are jumping on a flight XNA officials tell us that they are expecting an increase in folks flying. So arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight to give yourself enough time to go through the check-in and security. Make sure to have your mask as those are still required at the airport and on planes.

Keep that mask on hand as mask policies differ around the country.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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