AAA predicts more than 53 million people will travel for Thanksgiving

AAA predicts more than 53 million people will travel for Thanksgiving.
AAA predicts more than 53 million people will travel for Thanksgiving.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As millions across the country make their Thanksgiving plans, AAA predicts more than 53 million people will travel for the holiday.

“Travelers need to expect busy roads and busy skies, which includes busy airports,” said Morgan Dean, a spokesperson for AAA.

Dean said the forecasted number of travelers for Thanksgiving is a rebound hitting pre-pandemic levels.

“That’s 13 percent more than what we saw last year,” he said. “The highest single-year increase we’ve seen from year to year since back in 2005.”

AAA’s Thanksgiving forecast predicts more than four million people will buy a plane ticket and take to the skies to get to their Thanksgiving destination.

“It’s up 80 percent this year compared to last,” Dean said. “Last year, not a lot of people were traveling by air at this time period.”

As many take to the skies, Dean expects more than 48 million people will drive to their destinations.

“That number in it of itself is not unusual. We usually see it right around 90 percent,” Dean said. “If we’ve learned anything over the last year and a half, almost two years now, is that our cars are safe space and there are a lot of people who feel a lot safer in that space.”

With more travelers on the road, don’t expect gas prices to plummet.

“That demand could drive prices up some more, especially if supplies continue to be lower than they were pre-pandemic, which is where we are right now,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a huge spike in gas prices.”

Dean believes this won’t keep travelers off the road, but will make them take a closer look at their budget

“They may make some other decisions to balance the budget when they look at how much more they’re paying this year compared to last year,” he said

As Thanksgiving approaches, Dean urges people to finalize their plans. This includes booking plane tickets, hotels, and rental cars.

Over the summer, AAA said there was limited availability for rental cars in some markets due to a semi-conductor chip shortage.

Dean says while this shortage has subsided, it could come back.

“We’ve seen that drop back down this fall with demand dropping off, but that could kick back up as people start planning those trips for the end of the year,” he said. “If you need a rental car, best bet is to go ahead have that locked in now.”

AAA is also surveying Virginians about the impacts of gas prices and COVID-19 on their travel plans. Those results are expected to come out early next week.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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