WORCESTER – AAA projects a notable increase in Thanksgiving holiday travel this year, with 55.4 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more from home between November 22nd and 26th. This figure is a 2.3% increase from last year and ranks as the third-highest since AAA started tracking in 2000, only behind 2005 and 2019.
Mark Schieldrop, AAA Northeast Senior Spokesperson, noted the ongoing travel rebound post-pandemic, with a preference for road trips thanks to lower gasoline prices than last year. Around 49.1 million are expected to drive to their destinations, up 1.7% from 2022. Fuel costs are over 40 cents cheaper than last year, influenced by falling oil prices due to reduced global demand and expectations that the Israel-Hamas conflict will remain localized.
Air travel is also increasing, despite a 5% rise in domestic airfares. About 4.7 million people are expected to fly, the highest number since 2005, and a 6.6% increase from last year. The busiest air travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with Sunday and Monday as popular return days.
Travel by cruise, bus, or train is up nearly 11% from last year, with 1.55 million travelers expected to use these modes, especially cruising.
INRIX, a transportation data provider, predicts November 22 to be the busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving travel period. To avoid congestion, traveling early in the morning or after 6 PM. is recommended.
Regarding holiday booking prices, domestic travel costs have varied, with average domestic flight costs at $681 (up 5%), hotel stays at $598 (down 12%), and car rentals at $590 (down 20%). Domestic cruise prices have decreased by 12% to $1,507. International travel costs show mixed trends, with airfares down 5.7%, hotel stays up 5%, and car rentals up 9%. International cruise prices have increased by 24%.
Top U.S. holiday destinations include Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Anaheim, Tampa, New York City, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Maui, and San Diego. Internationally, Cancun, Mexico City, and Punta Cana are the most popular.