AAA’s Best & Worst Times For Thanksgiving Travel
Millions of Americans will be getting behind the wheel or heading to the airport to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones 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 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on that Wednesday. Travel experts advise leaving before 11 a.m.
- On Thanksgiving Day, the roads will be busiest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Travel before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. to avoid heavy traffic.
- On Friday, travel before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. if possible, as the roads will be busiest between noon and 4 p.m.
- Many people will be hitting the road to return home on Saturday and Sunday between 3 and 5 p.m., so AAA recommends leaving before noon on both days.