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Record number of Americans set to travel for Thanksgiving

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Thanksgiving Travel Surge: Over 55 Million Americans on the Move

AAA forecasts a significant rise in Thanksgiving travel this year, with 55.4 million Americans planning to venture 50 miles or more from home. This 2.3% increase from last year positions 2023 as the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period since 2000, trailing only behind 2005 and 2019. Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, notes the year-round strong demand for travel, emphasizing the traditional pairing of Thanksgiving with family visits and various travel methods.

Diverse Travel Modes: Roads, Skies, and Seas Buzzing with Activity

This Thanksgiving, roads will witness the highest traffic, with a projected 49.1 million drivers, a 1.7% rise from 2022. Fuel prices, while fluctuating due to global tensions, show a downward trend from last year’s $3.58 national average. Air travel is also seeing a surge, with around 4.7 million flyers, marking a 6.6% increase and the highest since 2005. The days surrounding the holiday are expected to be the busiest and most expensive for air travel. Additionally, alternative travel modes like cruises, buses, and trains are experiencing an 11% increase in travelers, totaling 1.55 million, with the cruise industry notably nearing a full recovery post-pandemic.

Travel Tips and Costs: Navigating Congestion and Expenses

INRIX, a transportation data firm, predicts the highest road congestion on November 22, suggesting morning or post-6 p.m. travel to avoid peak traffic. Bob Pishue, an INRIX analyst, advises using traffic apps and local services for real-time updates to ease travel frustrations. On the financial side, while domestic travel costs generally decreased, international travel expenses rose, with variations in airfares, hotel stays, rental cars, cruises, and tours. Domestic flights average at $681 (up 5%), while international flights are slightly cheaper than last year. Hotel and rental car prices show a mix of increases and decreases, reflecting the dynamic travel market conditions.