Thanksgiving Travel 2021: Expect congested roads and crowded airports

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Thanksgiving trips in 2021 will be significantly busier than in 2020. Whether you’re planning to fly, drive, or board a train, travelers should expect every mode of transportation to be. almost as busy as before the pandemic, according to forecasts by AAA et al.

“Travel this Thanksgiving will be very different from last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. in a recent statement. “Now that borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again at the top of the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with loved ones for the holidays. “

The company predicts that 6.4 million more people will travel for vacation this year than in 2020, for an estimated total of 53.4 million people planning to take a trip. Airports and highways will be particularly congested this year, according to AAA, with 48.3 million people scheduled for a Thanksgiving road trip and 4.2 million passengers boarding planes. One million more travelers will use other means of transport, including trains, buses or cruises.

As usual, Thanksgiving Eve should be the busiest travel day; Road tripers in particular should expect to see traffic meander on Wednesday. “Drivers around major subways should be prepared for significant delays, especially Wednesday afternoon,” Bob Pishue, travel analyst at Inrix, which works with AAA, said in a statement. Traffic in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston will more than triple Wednesday afternoon, according to Inrix data, while congestion in New York is expected to more than quadruple during that time. To avoid the worst of traffic jams, Inrix suggests driving after 9 p.m. on Wednesdays or before 11 a.m. on Thursdays (Thanksgiving Day) and Fridays.

Although fewer people are flying, many airports will feel as crowded as major highways. According to the site of the flight offers Hopper, US airport volumes during the holiday week are expected to double from last year. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport will be among the busiest airports during this period. According to Hopper’s analysis, 154,000 passengers alone are expected to accommodate the airports of Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Denver and Miami. In case of long queues, plan to arrive at the airport early, even if you have a subscription like TSA PreCheck or Clear — AAA advises at least two hours before departure for domestic flights and three hours before flights. international.

To help ease some of the security lines, some airports have implemented programs to reserve a time slot for the TSA checkpoint. Seattle-Tacoma Airport, for its part, has a Spot Saver Program which helps travelers get to the front line from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Likewise, Clear recently launched a new initiative called “Reserve Lane,” which allows travelers at the Orlando International Airport to make an appointment with the TSA before arriving at the airport. Many hubs across the country are also using biometric technology, such as facial recognition baggage drop-off, to help travelers speed up check-in. Be sure to check with your airport and airline to see if such shortcuts are available for your flight.

Additionally, any air passenger or car traveler who needs to book a rental car for the holidays should do so immediately. Rental car prices have jumped since the start of the year, according to Hopper, currently averaging $ 84 per day. Rental car bookings for Thanksgiving 2021 trip are 390% higher than same time last year, according to the tour operator app Tripit. To save money and secure a vehicle amid the continuing shortage of rental cars, Hopper’s report suggests looking for reservations at smaller airports near major hubs.

As for destinations, 46 percent of travelers plan to take a trip within their state, while 26 percent will travel out-of-state and 10 percent overseas, according to a vacation outlook report by PWC. Some of the trending destinations in the United States include Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, and Anaheim, California, according to AAA data. Internationally, the most popular destinations for travelers are Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba and the Bahamas.

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