Lots of Americans will be driving or flying to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends this year. According to a new report from AAA, an estimated 55.4-million travelers will be going 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period (defined as the five-day period from November 22nd - the day before Thanksgiving to November 26th, the Sunday after the holiday).
- This year’s Thanksgiving travel forecast is up 2.3% over last year and is expected to be the third busiest since AAA started tracking holiday travel in 2000.
- The two busiest years were 2005 and 2019.
- Most travelers will be driving to their destinations this year, with around 49.1-million Americans hitting the road.
- AAA expects 4.7-million Americans will be flying over Thanksgiving, the highest number of air travelers for the holiday since 2005.
- The busiest days for air travel, and the most expensive, are the Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday and Sunday is the busiest day to fly home.
The best and worst times to be on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday
- The day before Thanksgiving is always one of the most congested days on the road, but the busiest time is expected to be between 2p.m. and 6p.m. on that Wednesday. Travel experts advise leaving before 11a.m.
- On Thanksgiving Day, the roads will be busiest between 11a.m. and 3p.m. Travel before 10a.m. or after 5p.m. to avoid heavy traffic.
- On Friday, travel before 11a.m. or after 7p.m. if possible, as the roads will be busiest between noon and 4p.m.
- Many people will be hitting the road to return home on Saturday and Sunday between 3 and 5p.m., so AAA recommends leaving before noon both days.