According to AAA's annual projection released on Thursday, 55 million Americans are expected to travel this year for Thanksgiving, making it the busiest Thanksgiving for travel since 2005.
AAA said it expects a 2.9 percent increase in traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend from last year, which marks about 1.5 million additional travelers.
Of the 55 million planning to travel more than 50 miles, 49.3 million will do so by automobile. For those planning on traveling the day before Thanksgiving, major delays are expected, especially in major metropolitan areas.
“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”
If traveling by plane, AAA recommends to travel the Monday before Thanksgiving to take advantage of lower rates.
Part of the reason for an increase in travel is due to strong economic numbers, AAA claims.
“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers. Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season," said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel.