MADISON, Wis. — AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year.
The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip.
“Consumers have much to be thankful for this holiday season, including higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “As a result, more travelers are kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway.”
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.
Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.
Across the country, travelers who take to the sky must account for long security lines, but also increased drive times to the airport. INRIX expects delays getting to the nation’s busiest airports could be as long as an hour and a half.
Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, 31-cents more than a year ago. National, state and metro area gas price averages are updated daily, with historic comparisons, at GasPrices.AAA.com.
SOURCE: AAA press release