The number of Thanksgiving travelers is expected to increase by 13% to 53.4 million this holiday, starting in 2020, and is expected to be the only one-year increase since 2005, according to AAA. Although gasoline cost more than a dollar more per gallon than at this time last year, 90% of people plan to travel by car.
In a press release on Tuesday (November 9), the AAA expects travel volumes in the United States to fall 5% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. However, the number of air travelers will increase by 80% to 4.2 million this year, starting in 2020, as international travel restrictions are lifted. Air travel is expected to fall 9% from 2019 levels.
“This Thanksgiving, the trips will look very different from last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Now that borders are open and there are new safety and health guidelines, travel is once again a prominent place on the list of Americans who are willing to reunite with their loved ones for the holidays.
“Reopening international travel will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while giving a much-needed boost to the economy,” Twidale added. “But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers have to plan longer lines and extra time for TSA checks.”
In accordance with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), receiving a vaccine against COVID-19 is the best way to minimize the risk of infection. According to Mayo Clinic, 58.9% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. In Arkansas, 48.4% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Below are other AAA findings for this year’s Thanksgiving trips, compared to last year:
The lowest average rate is 27.3% less than last year, at $ 132. Mid-range hotel rates have risen by about 39%, with average nightly rates ranging from $ 137 to $ 172. Daily car rental rates increase 4% to $ 98.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road travel and this year will be no different even during the pandemic,” said Bob Pishue, INRIX transportation analyst. “Drivers on major meters need to be prepared for major delays, especially on Wednesday afternoons. Knowing when and where congestion will be generated can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”
INRIX, in partnership with AAA, expects drivers to experience the worst congestion ahead of the holiday weekend, as travelers leave work early and mingle with holiday travelers. Major U.S. metropolitan areas could see more than double the delays compared to regular driving times, and drivers in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York may experience more than triple the delays.
According to the AAA, the average U.S. price for a normal gallon of gasoline is $ 3.41, up from $ 2.11 at this time last year. The highest average price recorded for a normal gallon of gasoline was $ 4.11 in July 2008. In Arkansas, the average is $ 3.07 per gallon, up from $ 1.81 at the same time. from last year.