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When should you travel between Christmas and New Years Eve?

AAA forecasts an impressive 115.2 million Americans will travel over 50 miles from home during the 10-day year-end holiday period, marking a 2.2% increase from last year and the second highest figure since tracking began in 2000. The 2019 holiday season holds the record with 119 million travelers. Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, attributes this surge to Americans’ growing desire to travel for unique experiences and making memories, despite economic considerations.


Road travel is expected to dominate, with nearly 104 million people driving to their destinations, a 1.8% rise from last year and the second highest after 2019’s 108 million. Gas prices are anticipated to be comparable or lower than last year’s national average of around $3.15 per gallon during the holidays.

Air travel is also set to break records, with 7.5 million passengers projected, surpassing 2019’s 7.3 million. Despite slight decreases in average ticket prices, Twidale advises booking in advance and considering travel insurance. Additionally, travel by bus, train, and cruise is expected to exceed 2019 levels, with over 4 million travelers choosing these modes. Post-pandemic, the cruise industry is experiencing a significant uptick in demand, especially at the beginning of the new year.

INRIX, a transportation data and insights provider, warns of potential heavy traffic during this period. The most congested days are predicted to be December 23 and 28, with December 30 also expected to be busier than usual. Bob Pishue, an analyst at INRIX, advises travelers to avoid peak hours and utilize traffic apps and local services for smoother travel. The best travel times are typically before lunch or after 7 p.m., aiming to minimize delays and frustrations commonly associated with holiday traffic.



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