ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 19, 2017–The American Automobile Association projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving.
That’s a 3.3 percent increase from last year.
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Nov. 22 to Nov. 26.
The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year, according to AAA.
Predicted travel times in the most congested cities in the United States during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.
“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing.
Eighty-nine percent of all travelers–45.5 million–are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
Travelers still hitting the road despite higher gas prices
While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) are still planning to hit the road.
Automobile travel will grow by 3.2 percent this Thanksgiving, with 45.5 million Americans planning a holiday road trip.
This November’s national average price is $2.54, which is 37 cents more than the first half of last November.
Traffic hotspots and best and worst times to hit the road
Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening–as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week–as commuters mix with holiday travelers.
At its peak, drivers could see a delay of nearly 300 percent over the optimal trip, depending on where they travel.
According to transportation analyst working with AAA, Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips and record-level delays are possible this year.
AAA news release