- Travel rates this Thanksgiving will be down across the board, but those who elect to travel will largely do it by driving, according to AAA.
- Traffic and road congestion will be lighter than in years previous, but those in urban areas can expect heavier-than-normal delays in bottleneck areas.
- Traffic in urban areas is expected to peak the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving.
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Traditionally, the days around Thanksgiving are the ones that would see some of the heaviest travel in the United States. But thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, travel will be a lot lighter this year.
With positive COVID-19 cases on the rise and renewed, tighter quarantine restrictions, AAA believes anticipates at least a 10% decrease in travel from 2019 — the “largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008,” it said.
AAA predicts that all forms of travel — whether via cars, planes, buses, trains, and cruises — will decrease this year compared to last year. Bus, train, and cruise travel will fall from 1.5 million passengers last year to 353,000 this year, a 76.2% decrease; air travel will fall from 4.6 million passengers to 2.4 million, a 47.5% decrease; and car travel will dip slightly from 49.9 million to 47.8 million, a 4.3% decrease.
Road trips dominate
“Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and high unemployment, are impacting Americans’ decisions to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Julie Hall, AAA’s public relations manager, told Business Insider. “Those who decide to travel are likely to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away, making road trips the dominant form of travel this Thanksgiving.”
So if you’re the type of dread holiday travel traffic, you can expect less of it this year.
But those living in major urban areas won’t be so lucky. AAA projects increased delays at typical bottleneck areas of “up to 30% above normal pandemic congestion levels,” Hall said, citing transportation analytics company Inrix’s prediction that Wednesday afternoon will have the highest traffic volume.
Just be sure your car is travel ready so it won’t break down on the way. AAA said it “expects to rescue more than 413,000 Americans at the roadside this Thanksgiving.”
Video: Amtrak Says Passengers Can Travel Safely, Comfortably On Northeast Corridor This Thanksgiving (CBS Philadelphia)
Know the risks
Knowing the risks involved is important to those choosing to travel this holiday.
AAA highly recommends planning ahead. Check with state and local authorities where you are, along the route you’re planning on taking, and at your destination to find out about any potential restrictions that could be in effect.
And follow public health guidelines! Wear a mask consistently,