CLEVELAND — Millions of Americans are expected to travel for the upcoming holiday season, as AAA predicts Thanksgiving travel to rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels.
More than 53.4 million people are expected to travel, the highest single-year increase since 2005.
Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year.
As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this holiday season.
With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving coupled with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers—people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.
Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90% of people plan to travel by car as their preferred mode of travel. Daily car rental rates have increased 4% compared to last Thanksgiving at $98.
In general, Wednesday and Sunday afternoons both before and after the holiday tend to be the most congested times to travel on the roads.
As air travel continues to soar this year, AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 27.3% less than last year coming in at $132. Tuesday and Wednesday are still the most expensive and heaviest travel days with Monday being the lightest and least expensive.
Arrive at the airport early so you’ll have plenty of time to get through longer TSA lines and other travel checkpoints. For domestic travel, AAA suggests 2 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international.
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