ST. LOUIS – Memorial Day is next Monday, which can be a headache for some who will be traveling this weekend.

One woman expressed her frustration with holiday travel.

“You want me to talk about that? I can’t talk about that. You can’t curse on TV!” said Simone Henry.

However, you can do so from the comfort of your car, and Henry understands why holiday travel headaches would lead some to swear.

“There’s more volume-wise, and then, I guess, maybe because they drive so long, kids in the back or whatever,” Henry said. “People are not as…you can feel the tension. You can feel the tension.” 

“We’re expecting the third busiest Memorial Day travel period on record,” said Nick Chabarria of AAA Missouri.

AAA projects that 42.3 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend. Chabarria said 85 percent of travelers will drive to their destination, but air and cruise travel are up big overall from last year.

“We’ve seen a lot of pent-up demand for travel brought on by the pandemic, so folks are still making up for lost time,” Chabarria said.

Chabarria notes gas prices are down year over year and down the last month. On Monday, in Missouri, the average price for a gallon of regular was $3.21. It’s $3.97 in Illinois, and you can expect a spike across the country as the weekend draws near. If this is your first major road trip of the year, AAA encourages you to make sure your vehicle is in good running order.

“We use the acronym B.E.T. Battery. Engine. Tires. Make sure those three things are good to go so you don’t have issues on the roadways,” Chabarria said.

Advice Henry follows religiously.

I’ve got to check all the lights, do all the air, up the tires, make sure I get all the gas,” Henry said. “I’m a lady traveling, so I’ve got to make sure everything is ok.” 

“It really is the kickoff to summer travel, so you can kind of look at Memorial Day and use it as a gauge to where the rest of the summer is going to head,” Chabarria said. “If this is any indication, it’s going to be a busy summer travel period overall.” 

Thursday and Friday afternoon will be the busiest travel times for people departing for the holiday weekend, with Sunday and Monday serving as the busiest days for return travel. AAA recommends leaving early in the morning on those days to best avoid major traffic trouble.