ORLANDO, Florida – More than 55 million people are planning a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving with Florida being home to four of the top 10 destinations in the U.S., according to AAA.
AAA says that Orlando theme parks and other warm-weather destinations will see an influx of travelers looking to escape the start of winter.
This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.
Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9% increase.
“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.
For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking Wednesday with trips taking as much four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.
“Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX.
Automobiles: 3 million travelers will hit the road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005 and 2.8% more than last year.
Planes: With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday, with 4.45 million Americans expected to fly.
Trains, Buses, and Cruise Ships: Travel by other modes will reach 1.49 million, a slight increase of 1.4% from 2018.
A recent analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that flying the Monday before the Thanksgiving travel rush is the best option for travelers.
It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday and is a lighter travel day than later in the week.
Travelers can also save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the week’s lowest average price per ticket ($454).
Holiday road trippers should budget more for a rental car this year, which have reached their highest prices on record for the Thanksgiving holiday (since 1999), at $75 per day.
Travelers will also pay a bit more at AAA Two Diamond hotels, where prices are 1% more than last year, or $125 per night.
Conversely, the average rate for AAA Three Diamond hotels has fallen 5% to an average nightly cost of $158.
For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be fairly similar to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, which averaged $2.57.