AAA: Record Number of Travelers This Thanksgiving Week

According to AAA Northeast, this week’s travel volume due to the Thanksgiving holiday will be the highest record set since 2005 with more than 54 million people traveling by driving, flying or taking the rail.  And the highest numbers of New Yorkers will have left right after work on Tuesday evening getting a head start on everyone else.

The number of Americans who will be traveling more than 50 miles away from home to celebrate Thanksgiving will be higher this year over last year by 4.8 percent, it is estimated by AAA.

“Higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth are fueling a busy holiday travel week,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair, Jr.

INRIX, a global traffic data, and analytics firm, reports that an estimated 48.5 million American commuters will travel by automobile, an increase from 2017, which makes for a whole lot of traffic with millions of cars on the road especially in the Big Apple.

Warnings of a gridlock nightmare between 6 and 8 p.m. on Tuesday was being forecast on Monday as commuters from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut would attempt to beat the extended holiday weekend rush, reported INRIX.

To avoid the traffic congestion, traveling on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday would be a better choice, suggests AAA.

And the return trip home won’t be any better, perhaps worse, as most travelers are returning home on Sunday, AAA said.

Higher prices at the gas pump of more than 21 cents over last years average of $2.74 per gallon can be expected as well reports AAA.

However, with people reaping the benefits of a growing economy, it’s unlikely they will change their travel plans because of the cost of fuel.  “People have extra money in their pockets and they are willing to spend it,” Sinclair said.

Traveling by air will show the largest growth in this year’s holiday travel with approximately 4.27 million people flying to their destinations, a 5.4 percent increase over last year.

“This season will be very busy as more passengers choose to fly,” said Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske.

On Wednesday 2.6 million people are expected to fly nationwide with 2.7 million on Sunday, the TSA said.

If you are traveling by rail on the east coast you can expect rail road companies to provide additional train services this weekend to meet the holiday season demand and even off-peak ticket pricing for the four-day holiday beginning on Thanksgiving Day from companies like Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North as well as national companies like Amtrak.