Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us, and millions of Americans are preparing their getaways.
That includes an estimated 241,000 Idahoans, per AAA. So whether you’re getting ready to go somewhere near or far, by road or by air, here are some things you should know:
GAS PRICES, BEST TIMES TO DRIVE
The average price of a gallon of gas in Idaho was $3.74 on Monday — a 17-cent increase from a month prior.
But that’s 77 cents less than this time last year, when prices were well over $4 per gallon.
Prices are steepest in Boise and level out to the north and east. Here’s a look at gas prices from around the Gem State:
Boise — $3.88
Coeur d’Alene — $3.68
Idaho Falls — $3.51
Lewiston — $3.63
Pocatello — $3.59
Twin Falls — $3.72
AAA estimates a 6% increase in car travel this Memorial Day weekend, meaning roadways will be much busier than normal from Thursday through Monday.
The association recommends Thursday and Friday before noon and Monday before 10 a.m. as the best times to drive. Conversely, AAA says to avoid traveling between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, “as holiday travelers share the road with the evening commute.”
“Our forecast puts travel volume back at pre-pandemic levels,” AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde said in a release.
According to AAA data, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Yellowstone/Grand Teton national parks will be among the most-visited destinations in the nation this Memorial Day.
DETOURS EN ROUTE TO McCALL
McCall’s lakes and state park are popular warm-weather escapes. Drivers should prepare to take alternate routes if headed there this Memorial Day.
Ongoing road construction on the main route to the east side of Payette Lake and Ponderosa State Park will necessitate detours for travelers.
“Krahn Lane and Spring Mountain Ranch Roads will serve as the recommended detour routes for those traveling to the east side of Payette Lake or Ponderosa State Park,” the city of McCall said in a release. “These alternative roads will allow visitors to bypass multiple construction zones and reach their destination with minimal disruption.”
The city also notes that while the detour routes “have been carefully planned to accommodate cars and camper trailers,” the potential for extra congestion will require motorists to exercise caution, abide by speed limits and traffic laws, and follow all posted signage.
Additional information and real-time updates on road conditions are available at mccall.id.us or by texting “roadworks” to 208-271-9002.
RECORD NUMBER OF FLYERS EXPECTED
AAA estimates that 3.4 million people will travel by air during Memorial Day weekend, an 11% increase from last year and the most ever since AAA began tracking travel data.
The Transportation Security Administration echoed that sentiment in a Wednesday press release.
“In recent years, car travel has been the preferred choice for nearly 90% of all trips. But this year, we predict a major uptick in the number of people who will fly in order to maximize their leisure time at their end destination,” Conde, with AAA, said.
Those departing from the Boise Airport are encouraged to arrive early and use a rideshare service as parking will be limited.
Travelers can check parking availability on the airport’s website, iflyboise.com; however, most will need to use the economy lot, located at 5600 W Victory Road, the airport noted in a release. The economy lot is serviced by a shuttle every 15 minutes, the release stated.
Passengers should arrive 1½ hours early if being dropped off or utilizing a rideshare service, or two hours early if parking, the release said.