Despite the average cost of gas being $1 higher this year compared to last year, AAA expects a slight uptick in the number of drivers for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.
According to its projections, AAA expects 48.7 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles during the Thanksgiving weekend, which is a slight increase from 48.5 million a year ago. Air travel and other modes of transportation are also expected to see more passengers. All told, 54.6 million Americans are expected to travel Thanksgiving weekend, an increase from 53.8 million in 2021.
This year’s data suggests travel numbers will still be down slightly compared to 2019 when 56 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving weekend. 2019 was tied for the busiest year on record.
“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.”
Some of the increase could be due to declined apprehension about the coronavirus, There was also a requirement to wear masks on airplanes at the time. A judge has since lifted that requirement.
“With travel restrictions lifted and more people comfortable taking public transportation again, it’s no surprise buses, trains, and cruises are coming back in a big way,” Twidale adds. “Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush.”
AAA released data on its website of which times and highways could be most congested Thanksgiving weekend.