Las Vegas Top Memorial Day Destination, AAA Forecasting 60 Percent Travel Increase

Posted on: May 25, 2021, 09:18h. 

Last updated on: May 25, 2021, 10:45h.

AAA says Las Vegas is one of the top road and air travel destinations for this weekend’s Memorial Day holiday. But that could mean a higher ticket price for travelers. 

Las Vegas Memorial Day AAA holiday
The Las Vegas Strip in front of Paris is seen earlier this month. AAA is forecasting a surge in travel to Southern Nevada this Memorial Day weekend. (Image: Bloomberg)

AAA, the nonprofit American Automobile Association, largely took the year off from issuing its holiday travel forecasts in 2020 because of the pandemic. But the travel reports are back for 2021, and so are droves of travelers. 

The association predicts that between May 27 through May 31, more than 37 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home. That’s an increase of 60 percent from last year’s Memorial Day holiday, when only 23 million people traveled — the lowest on record since AAA began documenting the holiday weekend in 2000. 

“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” explained Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer.”

AAA believes Las Vegas is a favorite among travelers this Memorial Day. The gaming capital is the No. 1 road trip destination, and ranks No. 2 in AAA Travel bookings. 

Road Trips

  1. Las Vegas, Nv.
  2. Orlando, Fl.
  3. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  4. Denver, Co.
  5. Nashville, Tn.

AAA Travel Bookings

  1. Orlando, Fl.
  2. Las Vegas, Nv.
  3. Honolulu, Hi.
  4. Anchorage, Ak.
  5. Colorado Springs, Co.

Strip, I-15 Traffic Slowdowns

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and Southern Nevada is nearing reopening at 100 percent. Casino resorts are free of most COVID-19 operating restrictions, and as a result, Las Vegas is expected to be busy this three-day weekend.

Heavy traffic is expected during the Memorial Day weekend, especially along Interstate 15 and the Strip resort corridor,” explained Tony Illia, spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Transportation. “Although a full return to historic high visitor volumes is unlikely, traffic volumes at Primm have increased by 170 percent versus the same time last year. 

“And while it’s still unknown what incremental traffic increases are likely this holiday, we are encouraging motorists to budget additional drive time and plan accordingly when making travel plans,” Illia added. 

Room Rates Reveal Demand

Through the first three months of 2021, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that hotel occupancy at Las Vegas Strip casinos was still only 42.8 percent. And the average nightly room rate is going for a cheap $102.33.

Those rates won’t be found this Memorial Day weekend. Those interested in booking a last-minute trip to the Strip will need to open up their wallets. 

For a three-night stay Friday through Monday, a standard room at Wynn Las Vegas runs $407 per night. With taxes, fees, and resort fees, the total price for the three nights comes to $1,519. 

A room for three nights at The Venetian costs $1,494, Bellagio $1,567, and Caesars Palace $1,737. More budget-friendly options include Treasure Island ($861), Virgin ($925), and Flamingo ($971).