Not Surprising, But Expect Hectic Thanksgiving Traffic This Year
With just about a week left until Thanksgiving, odds are good that you’re prepping for a lot of travel soon. Unfortunately, it looks like many other Americans have the same idea for the holiday season. The American Automobile Association (AAA) just released its annual travel report which estimates over 55 million people will be on the move next week, creating a lot of Thanksgiving traffic.
This is an increase of 2.3% from last year’s report, so don’t be surprised if the roads seem more clogged than they used to. AAA broke down the predictions even further according to mode of transportation. An estimated 49 million Americans will travel by car, while just shy of 5 million will fly to their Thanksgiving getaway.
In the news release Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, noted that this bump in Turkey Day travelers is in line with 2023 travel trends. “Travel demand has been strong all year,” says Twidale, “and AAA’s Thanksgiving forecast reflects that continued desire to get away and spend time with loved ones.”
With so many people on the road next week, the question remains: when is the best time to leave town and avoid Thanksgiving traffic? Unfortunately it doesn’t look like any day in particular is too much better than any of the rest. However, there are certain times you can aim for if you want to minimize the stress from your travel plans.
AAA estimates the worst travel time will be on Wednesday, November 22 between 2 PM and 6 PM. If you MUST wait until Thanksgiving eve to head out, AAA recommends you try to leave a bit earlier, ideally before 11 AM. But even then you’re expected to hit quite a bit of congestion on the way to Mamaw’s house.
As daunting as your Thanksgiving commute looks to be this year, there is a sliver of good news. This other AAA report notes that gas prices are significantly lower than they were this time last year. So while travel may eat up much of your time next week, at least it won’t be as brutal on your bank account. There’s something to be thankful for!