Record Thanksgiving travel

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For the Thanksgiving holiday in 2023, AAA projects that 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home, marking an increase of 2.3% over the previous year. This forecast makes 2023 the third-highest year for Thanksgiving travel since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000, with the top two years being 2005 and 20191. The majority of Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations, with AAA projecting that 49.1 million Americans will travel by car, an increase of 1.7% compared to 20221. The busiest day on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is expected to be Wednesday, November 22, with average travel times as high as 80% over normal in some metro areas1. Air travel is also expected to increase, with AAA expecting 4.7 million people to fly over Thanksgiving, an increase of 6.6% compared to 2022. This is the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005. The busiest air travel days ahead of the holiday are Tuesday and Wednesday, while Sunday is typically the busiest day to return home1. Travel by other modes of transportation, such as cruise, bus, and train, is up nearly 11% over the previous year. AAA expects 1.55 million travelers to use these modes of transportation for their Thanksgiving travel1. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also forecasting a busy travel period. It expects to screen 2.9 million people at airports nationwide on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 266. The busiest days to fly will be Tuesday and Wednesday as well as the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with the TSA expecting to screen 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday and 2.7 million passengers on Wednesday7. In summary, Thanksgiving travel in 2023 is expected to be one of the busiest on record, with an estimated 55.4 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more from home. The majority of these travelers will be driving, but significant increases are also expected in air travel and travel by other modes of transportation.
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