AAA Texas projects more than 4.1 million Texans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 2.5 percent increase over last year. Across America, AAA projects 55.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 2.9 percent increase over last year. That means nationally, 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.
“More than four million Texans are starting the holiday season off right with a Thanksgiving getaway,” said Kent Livesay, Vice President & General Manager, AAA Texas. “Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Texans to journey away from home this holiday in near-record numbers. Consumer spending remains strong, and for Texans travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”
For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking Wednesday, with trips taking as much four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Dec. 1.
- Automobiles: 49.3 million travelers will hit the road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005 and 2.8% more than last year.
- Planes: With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 4.45 million Americans expected to fly.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: Travel by other modes will reach 1.49 million, a slight increase of 1.4% from 2018.
Nothing worse than Wednesday: Times NOT to be on the road
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week with the worst of the traffic expected on Wednesday. Trips could take up to four times longer than usual as commuters mix with travelers.
“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”
Lower gas prices fuel road trips; AAA to rescue more than 14,000 in Texas
Gas prices have been fluctuating as of late but are currently trending 11 cents cheaper than the statewide average at this time last year, giving Texans a little extra money to spend on travel and motivating millions to take road trips. For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be fairly similar to last year's Thanksgiving holiday.
Meanwhile, more than 14,000 motorists will call AAA Texas for assistance at the roadside this Thanksgiving holiday throughout the Lone Star State. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facilityto perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip. And remember to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles at the roadside.
Travel tip for the friendly skies: Fly Monday before Thanksgiving
A recent analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that flying the Monday before the Thanksgiving travel rush is the best option for travelers. It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday and is a lighter travel day than later in the week. Travelers can also save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the week’s lowest average price per ticket ($454).
Car rental costs peak, hotel prices mixed
Holiday road trippers should budget more for a rental car this year, which have reached their highest prices on record for the Thanksgiving holiday (since 1999), at $75 per day. Travelers will also pay a bit more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, where prices are 1% more than last year, or $125 per night. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 5% to an average nightly cost of $158.
Warm weather beckons this Thanksgiving
The theme parks of Orlando and southern California, and other warm-weather destinations will see an influx of travelers looking to escape the start of winter. Florida is home to four of the top 10 destinations, and Hawaii twice graces the list of top destinations in the U.S. this Thanksgiving, based on advance AAA Travel bookings:
- Orlando, Florida
- Anaheim, California
- New York, New York
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Miami, Florida
For those travelers planning an international vacation for Thanksgiving, sandy beaches are their destinations of choice. Nassau, Bahamas; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Montego Bay, Jamaica are AAA’s top international destinations this Thanksgiving, with Munich, Germany rounding out the top fiv
AAA’s travel experts remind travelers that it’s not too late to begin planning a Thanksgiving getaway. Visit AAA.com/Travel for travel planning resources to book your trip today.
Download the AAA Mobile App Before Thanksgiving
Before heading out on a trip for Thanksgiving, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.