The AAA predicts 54.6 million Americans will be traveling during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. In other words, it’ll be hectic.
The agency is urging travelers to leave ample time to get to their holiday destination. Travel experts say America’s roads and airports will likely be as busy as they’ve been since before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The AAA released its yearly Thanksgiving Travel Forecast, which estimates 54.6 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday weekend, a 1.5% increase from the 53.8 million who traveled in 2021.
The prediction projects to be the third-highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since the agency started tracking the data in 2000, USA Today reported.
In 2019, the AAA expected 56 million travelers over the Turkey day holiday, which was right before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” says Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”
Notably, those traveling by car are expected to account for the vast majority of travelers- 48.7 million. While 4.5 million Americans are expected to travel by air for the upcoming holiday and nearly 1.4 million using trains, buses, and ships.
Air travel is expected to be up roughly 8% from last year, an uptick of an additional 330,000 Americans traveling through airports across the nation. And although the 1.4 million expected to travel via bus, train or ship seems on the lower end, it still represents a 23% increase from last year.
“Airport parking spaces fill up fast, so reserve a spot ahead of time and arrive early,” Twidale said. “Anticipate long TSA lines. If possible, avoid checking a bag to allow for more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule.”