AAA: Thanksgiving travel to rise

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

Nearly 55M expected to be on the road

AAA predicts 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving.

This is a 1.5 percent increase over 2021 and 98 percent of pre-pandemic volumes. This year is projected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA started tracking in 2000.

Email newsletter signup

For purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday to Sunday.

“People are eager to get back to creating memories with their families and friends this Thanksgiving,” says Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “The nearly pre-pandemic levels of travelers will result in heavy traffic congestion and busy airports. Motorists should strategically plan their journey, packing plenty of patience for the drive or flight,” she added.

Most travelers (nearly 49 million people) are expected to travel by car.

While Thanksgiving road trips have slightly risen 0.4 percent from 2021, car travel remains 2.5 percent below 2019 levels.

Air travel is up nearly 8 percent over 2021, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. That’s an increase of more than 330,000 travelers and nearly 99 percent of the 2019 volume.

Americans are also ramping up travel by other modes of transportation. More than 1.4 million travelers are going out of town for Thanksgiving by bus, train, or cruise ship.

That’s an increase of 23 percent from 2021 and 96 percent of the 2019 volume.