TYLER, Texas — After a quieter Memorial Day holiday last year due to the pandemic, it's anticipated travel will be on the rise this weekend as the unofficial kickoff to summer.
Kaitlyn Gee is one of those travelers and made the trip to Tyler from Daytona, Florida on Thursday to see family.
She said it wasn't her first trip to Texas during the pandemic, but so far it's been the smoothest one with not as many drivers on the road as she expected.
"They've been pretty good drivers for Texas," Gee said. "And a lot of Texas license plates, I expected to see more out of staters."
Despite gas prices on the rise across the country, AAA reported more than 37 million people are expected to travel, mostly by car, over the holiday weekend 50 miles or more from their homes.
The average cost of regular gas in Texas as of Thursday was about $2.73, while the national average is around $3.04. According to AAA, Memorial Day travelers will pay the highest gas prices since 2014.
Gee said the cost to fill up didn't discourage her or her family to make the drive, with gas prices in the lone star state cheaper than Florida.
"My little sister graduates tomorrow," she said. "So, it's good to be back in my state, and just seeing all the people I haven't seen in a few years. And it's good to spend time with family."
While Texas roadways weren't too bad on Thursday, Gee said she doesn't expect driving for the rest of this weekend to be the same.
"I'm heading back on Monday and I'm thinking there's going to be a lot more traffic out of the state on Monday then there was coming into the state on Thursday," explained Gee.
AAA offers these road trip tips for Memorial Day travelers:
- Make a good BET before hitting the road: get your battery, engine and tires checked.
- Consider refueling when your gas tank level hits ¼ of a tank.
- Fill up before arriving at your vacation destination. Gas prices are likely to be cheaper outside of popular travel destinations.
- Use your AAA app to find the closest gas station on your route. You can always call ahead to confirm their pumps are flowing.
- Do not leave home without an emergency roadside kit. Include a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares and jumper cables. Don’t forget extra snacks or meals, as well as cleaning supplies, including disinfecting wipes.