AAA predicts 51 million Americans to travel over Thanksgiving
The rush is on, from coast to coast. AAA says Wednesday through Sunday will be busier than usual on the roads.
The holiday travel rush is on, from coast to coast. AAA says Wednesday through Sunday will be busier than usual on the roads. Nearly 51 million people expected to travel to see family and friends over this holiday weekend, a 3.3 percent increase over last year.
Tennesseans make up 1.16 million of those travelers.
Experts said a growing economy and low unemployment for putting people in the traveling mood. It’s why if you're traveling this week, you'll have even more company on the roads this year compared to last year.
AAA anticipates a record number of Americans to hit the roads. Nine out of 10 people will travel between Wednesday and Sunday. Therefore, it's likely you might experience some traffic before you get to dinner.
More Tennesseans are expected to fly to their destination as well, about 37,000 will travel by air, which is the highest since 2006.
- Total Travelers: 1.16 million Tennesseans will travel 50 miles or more; an increase of 3.2% over last year.
- Road Trip Ready: 1.1 million will take a Thanksgiving road trip; an increase of 3.2% over last year.
- Flying High: 36,919 Tennesseans are forecast to take a flight; the most since 46,447 flew in 2006. The 4% year-over-year increase is the largest percentage increase among the three major transportation modes.
- Alternate travel: 15,029 Tennesseans will travel by other means like trains, buses, and cruises.
- Fueling up: Gas Prices in Tennessee averaged $1.94 on Thanksgiving 2016. Prices this year are likely to be the highest since 2014.
- Road Trippers: 89 percent of all travelers –45.5 million– are planning a Thanksgiving road trip; an increase of 1.6 million people (3.2%) over last year.
- Cheaper Airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
- Fuller Skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
- Alternate Travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
- Fueling Up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
- Holiday High: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.
The day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after have historically been the busiest days out on the roads, so it's important that you plan ahead and leave early if you can.
Get ready to pay more as well, gas prices are up compared to previous years, but luckily for the Tennessee Valley gas per gallon in among the cheapest in the state.
"I think people have already made their plans to travel and although prices are a little bit higher, it's not going to deter them from visiting their families and enjoying the Thanksgiving traditions they typically enjoy," said Karen Sanchez with AAA.
Travelers are still hitting the road despite higher gas prices, which surged earlier this month. The state average rose 8 cents in 10 days.
Gas prices in Tennessee are currently averaging $2.31, a drop of 2 cents compared to last week.
The state average was $1.94 on Thanksgiving 2016, $1.88 in 2015, and $2.59 in 2014.
Compared to last year’s holiday, it will cost the average motorist $6 more for a full tank of gasoline.
Today’s U.S. average gas price is $2.54, down 2 cents from last week.
The national average on Thanksgiving Day was $2.14 in 2016, $2.05 in 2015, and $2.80 in 2014.
Experts said the best time to travel on the roads is early in the morning or late at night.