How to survive record-breaking traffic this Memorial Day

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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. The combination of the warm weather and long weekend probably make you want to take a vacation … along with everyone else.

AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast expects a record 37.6 million drivers to hit the road this weekend. More drivers means delays could double or even triple travel time, especially on Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Travelers can avoid congestion by leaving as early as possible, said Julie Hall, spokeswoman for AAA.

But “travelers should pack their patience,” she said.

Anger-inducing traffic may prompt drivers to speed, drive aggressively or take fewer breaks for the sake of being on time. This is a bad idea.

Hall said drivers should drive distraction-free and take scheduled breaks every two hours or 100 miles.

Before heading out for the weekend, review your car insurance policy. AAA expects to provide emergency roadside assistance to more than 350,000 motorists over the holiday. Don't have AAA? Some car insurance policies offer roadside assistance as an addition (you can learn more here).

Top Memorial Day destinations

Here’s the top domestic destinations for Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA travel bookings.

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How to save on travel

Popular travel times can lead lead to peak pricing. If you’re flying to your destination, consider bundling flight and hotel reservations together. Or, skip the pricey hotel and stay at a home-share, like Airbnb, or a local bed-and-breakfast.

Parking costs can quickly add up for those traveling by car. Save money with a one-way rental car or ride-share option. Car rental prices have declined 7% compared with last year, with an average daily rate of $55, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.

No matter the destination, vacationers should consider purchasing travel insurance to financially protect their trip if the unexpected happens. Learn more about travel insurance.

Image: Simon Rae