Over 54 million Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving this year, according to a new report by the American Automobile Association.
Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday travel season, as many usually hit the road during the months of November and December for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year’s is expected to be a big one.
48.5 million of those traveling are expected to drive, while 4.3 more will fly, making it the busiest air travel season since 2007, and busiest overall since 2005.
“A strong economy and falling gas prices will fuel significant growth in the number of Floridians planning a trip for Thanksgiving,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With more travelers comes more congestion at airports and on the roads. AAA urges people to leave early, pack their patience and minimize distractions while behind the wheel.”
It’s an increase of 4.8 percent compared to a year ago, with AAA citing economic growth and an improving economy driving more people to, well, drive this year. Consumer confidence has hit an 18-year high, AAA reports.
But more travelers means more traffic, and the travel firm is advising those who plan to head out of town to plan ahead.
AAA says the busiest times to be on the road during the week of Thanksgiving will be between 3 to 7 p.m., as commuter and traveler traffic comingle, and on Sundays as many head back home. In some areas, travel times could quadruple drive time in some high traffic areas.
“Motorists hoping to avoid congestion should try not to travel through major cities during peak travel times,” Nasworthy continued. “The best advice is to leave early. The roads are generally less crowded in the mornings and on the holiday itself.”
In Florida, one of the best tools for tracking road and traffic conditions is Florida 511, which monitors traffic conditions on the state’s interstates and major highways. The site gives alerts on road closures, construction, congestion, and accidents.
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