NEW ORLEANS - Memorial Day is about much more than travel, but for anyone hitting the road on this special long weekend, our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, went to AAA to complete her checklist for a successful journey.
"This year we expect an extraordinary amount of travelers, over 43 million across the U-S. Right here in Louisiana, we expect 4.5 million travelers and 3.7 of those are gonna be traveling by car," says Brandon Hutchings, AAA Area Travel Manager.
Great news for everyone on the go during the next few days: hotel and car rental prices are down. Gas prices have inched up slightly in Louisiana, but at $2.45 a gallon as the average price at the pump, Louisiana has some of the lowest prices in the United States.
Michelle Thompson has been a AAA member for more than 30 years and she says she always follows the organization's advice before taking off.
"I'm only going so many hours and I'm taking a break and I'm visiting family and friends," says Thompson, who also always remembers to bring a paper map with her, in case her GPS fails.
The type of gas you use is important too; it's okay to switch brands, but always use a top-tier fuel. According to a recent AAA study, even just one fill-up with a no-name bargain brand can damage your engine.
Of course, don't drive intoxicated, or, a new term: "intexticated."
"Put down your cell phone when you're driving. When you're behind the wheel of the car focus," says Hutchings.
But remember your phone charger because you may need if if you're one of the 353,000 people that AAA expects to rescue during Memorial Day weekend 2019.
The top three reasons for roadside assistance? Flat tires, dead batteries and drivers being locked out of their cars.
Of course lots of people depend on their phone for driving directions; that's another reason to keep your phone charged. But pack a paper map too.
"One thing I can say is you will never lose signal when you have an actual paper map," laughs Hutchings.
If you're headed to Florida, fill up your tank before you go because gas prices there could be higher by 20 cents or more!
Wherever you're off to, keep a spare key in your wallet and pack a cooler with cold water and snacks so that you can keep your cool, even if your journey hits a jam.
Another tip from our Travel Girl: essential oils such as peppermint are helpful for helping drivers stay alert.
If you're looking for a gift for your graduate, consider a AAA membership: at less than $50 a year, it's a gift that comes with a practical side, that also brings peace of mind.