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No Memorial Day travel forecast as AAA expects many to stay close to home this holiday

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, which usually estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend.

SEATTLE — Memorial Day weekend typically marks the unofficial start to summer, but COVID-19 restrictions are putting a dent in summer plans.

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast. The forecast estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend. 

According to AAA, last year 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day weekend, the second-highest travel volume since AAA began tracking traffic volumes in 2000. 

A normally busy travel weekend is already shaping up to look different. 

"We might actually have more traffic locally, but it won't be anywhere near the levels that we see usually on a big holiday weekend," said Kelly Just, with AAA Washington. 

Just says Seattle tends to be one of the top 10 worst traffic spots. 

This year, with social distancing guidelines in play, holiday weekend travel could set a record low.

For those who are making travel plans, short trips seem to be the trend. 

"We have 60% of our hotel bookings are for same day or next day travel so people are starting, they're staying close to home," said Just. 

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The year 2020 is shaping up to be the year of the road trip, especially as more states begin loosening restrictions. 

"We're seeing the most bookings on the West Coast and the Mountain West and 80% of the bookings are happening in Washington state," said Just. 

AAA has rolled out an interactive map to help travelers figure out which states are under certain restrictions if they choose to take a road trip when it's safe to do so. 

While Washington remains under a stay-at-home order, smaller counties, including Kittitas, which is on the verge of moving into phase two, are asking everyone to lay low this holiday weekend and not visit just yet. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home as much as possible to fight the spread of coronavirus. 

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