Over 55.4 Million Americans Anticipated to Travel during Thanksgiving

Over 55.4 Million Americans Anticipated to Travel during Thanksgiving
Over 55.4 Million Americans Anticipated to Travel during Thanksgiving

AAA Predicts Increase in Thanksgiving Travel

According to AAA, 55.4 million travelers are expected to venture 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. This projection represents a 2.3% increase from last year and is the third-highest forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. The top two years were 2005 and 2019.

Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, stated, “For many Americans, Thanksgiving and travel go hand in hand, and this holiday, we expect more people on the roads, skies, and seas compared to 2022. Travel demand has been strong all year, and AAA’s Thanksgiving forecast reflects that continued desire to get away and spend time with loved ones.”

Travel Trends

The majority of Thanksgiving travelers will be driving to their destinations, with AAA projecting 49.1 million Americans hitting the road. This represents a 1.7% increase from last year. Gas prices are expected to be lower than last Thanksgiving, providing some relief for drivers.

AAA also anticipates 4.7 million people will fly over Thanksgiving, a 6.6% increase from 2022 and the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005. The busiest air travel days are expected to be Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

In addition, the number of people traveling by cruise, bus, and train is up nearly 11% from last year. AAA expects 1.55 million travelers to use these modes of transportation, which have rebounded nicely after being heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Best/Worst Times to Drive and Peak Congestion by Metro

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, predicts that Wednesday, November 22, will be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Travelers are advised to leave in the morning or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest congestion.

Here are the best and worst times to drive during the holiday period:

DateWorst Travel TimeBest Travel Time
Wednesday, Nov 222:00 – 6:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM
Thursday, Nov 2311:00 AM – 3:00 PMBefore 10:00 AM, After 5:00 PM
Friday, Nov 2412:00 – 4:00 PMBefore 11:00 AM, After 7:00 PM
Saturday, Nov 253:00 – 5:00 PMBefore 12:00 PM
Sunday, Nov 263:00 – 5:00 PMBefore 12:00 PM

INRIX also provided peak congestion information for various metro areas. Some of the busiest routes include Birmingham to Atlanta, Boston to Hyannis, and Chicago to Milwaukee.

Holiday Booking Prices

AAA data shows that travelers are generally paying less for domestic trips compared to last year, while international vacations are slightly more expensive. Here are the average booking prices for November and December:

  • Domestic flights: $681 (up 5% from 2022)
  • International flights: $1,231 (down 5.7% from last year)
  • Domestic hotel stays: $598 (down 12% from 2022)
  • International hotel stays: $772 (up 5% from last year)
  • Domestic rental cars: $590 (down 20% from 2022)
  • International rental cars: $696 (up 9% from last year)
  • Domestic cruises: $1,507 (down 12% from 2022)
  • International cruises: $2,902 (up 24% from last year)
  • Domestic tours: $1,058 (down 15% from 2022)
  • International tours: $1,208 (up 21% from last year)

Top Holiday Destinations

For domestic travel, popular destinations include Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami in Florida, as well as Anaheim in California. Internationally, Cancun in Mexico, Mexico City, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic are among the top choices.

Conclusion

As Thanksgiving approaches, AAA predicts an increase in travel compared to last year. With more people hitting the roads, skies, and seas, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared for potential congestion. Whether driving, flying, or using other modes of transportation, travelers should consider the best and worst times to travel and take advantage of available resources for real-time updates on traffic conditions. Despite fluctuating prices, there are still affordable options for domestic and international trips. Remember to book in advance and explore the wide range of destinations available for a memorable holiday getaway.

About the Author

“AAA Travel Insights” is a website dedicated to providing travel information and tips for individuals over 21 years old who love exploring new destinations. Our goal is to inspire and assist travelers in planning their next adventure. We believe that travel is not just a hobby but a way of life, and we strive to share our passion with our readers. Join us on this journey and discover the world through our eyes.

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