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5 Stocks to Make the Most of the Busiest Memorial Day Weekend

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This Memorial Day weekend is likely to see record-breaking travelers hitting the road and taking to the skies. According to travel service provider American Automobile Association (“AAA”), this weekend will be the busiest in nearly two decades.

An increase in travel demand should boost revenues and profitability for the travel and tourism industry, thereby leading to higher share prices. Investors can tap this trend through stocks that stand to profit big time from an upbeat Memorial Day travel trend. Some of them are American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL - Free Report) ,, Corp. (DESP - Free Report) , Carnival Corporation & Carnival plc (CCL - Free Report) , Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG - Free Report) and Walt Disney Company (DIS - Free Report) .

Busy Travel Trends

According to AAA, about 44 million Americans will travel 50 miles (80 km) or more over the Memorial Day weekend (May 23-27), up 4% from last year. This would represent the second busiest Memorial Day weekend ever. Of them, a record 38.4 million are expected to go on a road trip, 3.5 million would fly and 2 million would travel by train and other modes (including buses and cruises).

Road travel is expected to hit the highest level since AAA began tracking data in 2000 and increase 4% from the last year, driven by a lower pump price. The national average for gas prices declined for the fourth consecutive week ahead of Memorial Day weekend and is expected to remain in the mid-$3 range for most of the summer, per GasBuddy. Prices for renting a car or truck are also down 10% year over year. Orlando, FL, Denver, CO, Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA and Las Vegas, NV are the cities with the highest rental car demand, according to Hertz.

Airports will also be the most crowded since 2005. The Transportation Security Administration said up to 3 million passengers might pass through airport checkpoints on Friday alone. Airfares are down 6%, and hotel rates have dipped 0.4% compared with a year ago, according to the latest government figures.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration expects this Memorial Day weekend to be the busiest for air travel in more than a decade. It projects more than 53,000 flights on Thursday and 50,000 on Friday.

Travelers are seeking theme parks and entertainment venues in Orlando, New York, Las Vegas and Southern California. Seattle, WA, Anchorage, AK and Vancouver are the top destinations because of the popularity of Alaska cruises this time of the year. Florida beaches and cruise ports will also be packed. European cities dominate the international list, according to AAA.

Stocks Set to Surge

American Airlines operates as a network air carrier. It tops the list for tapping the travel surge among the major U.S. carriers, with a 14% increase in flights and 12% more seats during the Memorial Day weekend. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and a VGM Score of A. provides online travel booking services. It offers online hotels, cars, flights, vacation rentals, packages and ticket booking services. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Carnival operates as a cruise and vacation company. As a single economic entity, it forms the largest cruise operator in the world. Carnival is the world’s leading leisure travel firm and carries nearly half of the global cruise guests. The company operates in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 and a VGM Score of A.

Booking Holdings is one of the largest online travel companies in the world. The company’s travel-related offerings cover hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars, vacation packages, cruises, “things to do” at customer destinations and travel insurance. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 and a VGM Score of A.

Walt Disney has assets that span movies, television shows and theme parks. Its theme parks and hotels are some of the world's premier vacation destinations. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 and a VGM Score of B.

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