The AAA Automobile Club said in its Thanksgiving travel forecast released Tuesday that nearly 49 million Americans will be traveling by car over the long weekend, which for travel purposes is Wednesday through Sunday, May 23-27. november. Thanksgiving Day is November 24.
AAA’s data partner INRIX expects severe traffic congestion in metropolitan areas across the United States, particularly around Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, with some drivers experiencing more than double time stuck in rush hour traffic.
Other busy metros are Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Here are the potential hotspots in YOUR SUBWAY and when they will be busiest:
To avoid the busiest times, travel early in the morning on Wednesdays or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Avoid traveling between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
In general, the best and worst times to be on the road are:
- Wednesday, November 23 — worst times, 1 a.m. to 8 p.m.; best times, before 8 a.m., after 8 p.m.
- Thursday November 24 — worst times, 11am-3pm; best times, before 11 a.m., after 6 p.m.
- Friday November 25 — worst times, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; best times, before 11 a.m., after 8 p.m.
- Saturday November 26 — worst times, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; best times, before 2 p.m., after 8 p.m.
- Sunday November 27 — the worst times, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; best times, before 11 a.m., after 8 p.m.
This year is expected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel, approaching 98% of pre-pandemic levels, since AAA began tracking it in 2000.
Although most will travel by car, about 4.5 million Americans plan to fly to their Thanksgiving destinations, an increase of 8% – 333,000 more travelers – from last year. Thanksgiving air travel is expected to be less than 99% of pre-pandemic levels.
It’s a good idea to leave early for the airport. Long lines are likely at TSA checkpoints and, “if possible, avoid checking a bag to allow more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule,” AAA said.
The number of people traveling by bus or train or taking a cruise increased by 23% compared to last year, reaching 96% of the volume of 2019.