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Hitting the road this holiday? You and 43M other Americans


Pack the picnic basket and gas up the SUV. The holiday is upon us. The AAA of Western and Central New York projects nearly 43 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend, with a record-breaking number taking road trips.

The AAA says top destinations for local travelers include Myrtle Beach, as well as national parks, Outer Banks, Cape Cod and drivable campgrounds. No surprise that Orlando tops the list for travelers across the United States.

In New York State, the AAA says 2.65 million people will be traveling for the holiday, an increase of 3.5 percent from 2018. A record 2.39 million will be traveling by car and nearly 183,000 by air, while 73,000 will be traveling by other modes of transportation.

More good news about this: Drivers are actually paying less for gasoline than last year.

The AAA says the average price for a gallon of gasoline in New York State is $2.96, compared to $3.08 last year. Buffalo is looking at even lower prices: an average of $2.89 per gallon.

As for when to get on the road, the AAA expects Thursday and Friday to be the busiest travel days of the holiday weekend.

Whether traveling or just getting around the city, ride-hailing services can be a convenient option for many. A recent Gallup Poll found that 30 percent of all Americans use ride-sharing services. For those aged 18-29, use jumps to 45 percent.

However, the AAA warns the service comes with risks. Some ways to stay safe this holiday or anytime:

  • Check your driver’s rating before you ride. It should be at least 4.5 out of 5 stars and reviews should be positive.
  • Tell someone about your trip. Also let someone know your route and estimated time of arrival.
  • Confirm your driver before getting in. Ask for the driver’s name, and ask, “Who are you here for?” Cross-check the license plate with the number on your app before you get in the car.
  • Don’t share personal information. That includes your phone number or other personal information like where you live or work.
  • Pay through the app. Never give your driver cash or your credit or debit card.
  • Stay vigilant. If you sense trouble, dial 911.

Travelers thinking of seeing foreign nations this holiday may want to steer clear of certain regions. The National Council for Home Safety and Security has released its 2019 report on the most dangerous countries, based upon number of active terrorist organizations, homicide rates and other data, compared to U.S. State Department travel advisories.

The top 10 most dangerous countries are:

  1. Pakistan
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Central African Republic
  4. Iraq
  5. El Salvador
  6. Somalia
  7. Mali
  8. Syria
  9. Honduras
  10. Libya

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Western Europe is the safest region, as it includes 15 of the 20 safest nations.  The United States also ranks among the safest for travel, at 164 out of 184 countries.