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Memorial Day Travel drastically up from 2020, AAA says

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 7:48 PM CDT
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DEFOREST, Wis. (WMTV) - The American Automobile Association (AAA) says 37.1 million people will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is 14 million more than a year ago.

NBC15 spoke with several drivers traveling through DeForest Thursday who say a lot of their comfort for going somewhere, stems from the fact that there are vaccines for COVID-19 and looser guidelines across the country. They compare that to where Wisconsin was last year: A Safer at Home order.

Despite some wet weather Thursday, drivers hit the road for the unofficial start of summer.

“It’s nice that the CDC has relaxed regulations at a time we can all begin enjoying summer weather in Wisconsin,” Traveler Barry Rogers said.

Holiday travelers feel a little more comfortable traveling ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened its guidelines for fully vaccinated people.

“I’m doing what I think is safe and right for me,” Traveler Vicki Oldham said.

AAA predicts more than 711,000 Wisconsinites will travel for Memorial Day Weekend, and more than 676,000 of them will drive to their destination.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot more people traveling than last year,” Nick Jarmusz, AAA Dir. of Public Affairs said.

Jarmusz said even with those numbers up, they’re still 15% lower than a typical Memorial Day Weekend.

“Vaccinations and caseloads have been the biggest factor in determining whether people are comfortable traveling,” Jarmusz said.

One of those people is Beloit resident Jason Wagner.

“You figure you’re a little safer at least,” Wagner said.

Wagner traveled on his own this past year but would not go anywhere with his family until his kids were vaccinated.

“Before, we weren’t bringing the kids anywhere, they would stay at home, now we feel more comfortable having them with us,” Wagner said.

Drivers are just happy to be heading somewhere this holiday weekend.

“It was about time to get out and see some new sights,” Traveler, Jay Brown said.

Even though the CDC has relaxed its regulations, AAA says it is a good idea to check the COVID-19 guidelines for the states you are driving to as well as your destination.

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