Memorial Day weekend: Here are the worst times to leave LA

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 25 at 11:36 a.m. and has been updated with the most recent information.

Planning a long drive this Memorial Day weekend? You’ll want to be strategic about when to leave town—or bring plenty of audiobooks. An annual report from traffic analyst INRIX predicts that travel time between Los Angeles and popular vacation destinations could nearly double at peak hours.

Of course, travelers will likely encounter traffic throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, but there are certainly a few good times to avoid.

Interestingly, the route to the farthest destination—Las Vegas—is projected to have the least traffic. Even leaving during the height of rush hour (5 p.m.) on a Friday, travelers will only face a 40 minute delay, according to the report.

The report, however, lists Las Vegas as just 210 miles from Los Angeles. It’s actually over 250 miles away. We reached out to INRIX and found out that the calculation is based on distance traveled on just the 15 freeway, so keep in mind that the trip will take longer than the estimate listed in the report.

The report projects that travel time to Palm Springs will more than double for drivers leaving when traffic is at its worst (around 3 p.m. on Friday).

Traffic between LA and San Diego—which, let’s be honest, is always bad—will be most backed up on Saturday between noon and 5 p.m. During that wide window of time, drivers can expect delays of over an hour.

The lesson, as always: Plan ahead and maybe think about leaving at unusual times. Departing at 2:30 a.m., for instance, should get you to Palm Springs in plenty of time for a beautiful desert sunrise. Something to consider?

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