More than 54 Million Americans are set to hit the road for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving travel has already begun. AAA predicts that 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8% increase over last year.
The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could see much heavier than normal congestion.
“The thriving economy is giving travelers a lot to be thankful for this year,” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central. “Two-and-a-half million more Americans will have the chance this year to create new lasting memories with their families and friends, which is very exciting to see.”
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.
East North Central* Thanksgiving Forecast Highlights include:
Thanksgiving holiday travelers will total 9.15 million, an increase of 4.8% from the 8.7 million in 2017.
8.15 million will travel by automobile, up 4.7% from last year’s 7.78 million.
752,000 people will fly to their destinations, up 6.3% from the previous year’s amount of 707,000.
*East North Central includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Drivers Beware of Thanksgiving’s Congestion
Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX and AAA predict drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion nationwide Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday.
In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.
Top 10 Thanksgiving Destinations
Many travelers will seek iconic American cities, theme parks and other warm-weather destinations this Thanksgiving. Orlando, New York City and Anaheim top this year’s top 10 holiday destinations based on AAA’s national online and travel agency air and tour bookings. Punta Cana, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami are all gaining popularity as holiday spots compared with last year.
New York, N.Y.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.