AAA Projects 55.4 Million Americans to Travel Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 15, 2023

AAA projects 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

This year’s Thanksgiving forecast is an increase of 2.3% over last year and marks the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. The top two years were 2005 and 2019, respectively.

“Many Americans look forward to traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday so they can spend time with family and friends,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president of AAA East Central. “This year’s forecast shows even more people are planning to get away whether it’s by car, plane, or taking a dream cruise with loved ones.”

Most Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations. AAA projects 49.1 million Americans will get behind the wheel, an increase of 1.7% compared to 2022. Drivers could be paying less for gas than last Thanksgiving when the national average was $3.58. This year, the national average peaked in mid-August at $3.87 and has been coming down since, despite global tensions causing ripples through the oil market.

Before heading out, motorists should ensure their vehicles are road trip-ready to avoid a breakdown along the way. AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 Americans at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Motorists should take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip.

AAA expects 4.7 million people will fly over Thanksgiving, an increase of 6.6% compared to 2022 and the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005. Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the busiest air travel days ahead of the holiday and the most expensive. While Sunday is typically the busiest day to return home, AAA data shows Monday is also a popular day to fly back after Thanksgiving.

The number of people traveling by cruise, bus, and train over Thanksgiving is up nearly 11% over last year. AAA expects 1.55 million travelers will head out of town using these other modes of transportation, which took a huge hit during the pandemic but have rebounded nicely.

      

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