AAA predicts that about 55 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Since AAA started tracking holiday travel back in 2000, this year is predicted to be the third busiest year, along with 2005 and 2019, for Thanksgiving travel.

How to avoid the rush: “Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale said. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

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Why it matters: Axios reported that the number of people traveling by airplane is up nearly 8% over 2021. There are about 4.5 million Americans potentially planning to fly to their respective holiday weekend destinations this year. This increases the amount of travelers by 330,000 people, which is about 99% of the 2019 volume.

Other details to know: “Americans are also ramping up travel by other modes of transportation. More than 14 million travelers are going out of town for Thanksgiving by bus, train, or cruise ship. That’s an increase of 23% from 2021 and 96% of the 2019 volume,” according to AAA.

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What has been said: “Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” transportation analyst for INRIX Bob Pishue said. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the holiday weekend. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Weather and timing for travel: INRIX reported that people should expect a lot of traffic in many metro areas throughout the country. Some drivers will experience delays at a doubled rate. Highways around Atlanta, Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles will be busiest, according to AAA.

ABC News reported that in order to avoid busy roads while traveling, people should plan to travel early in the morning on Wednesday or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

You should try to avoid travel between 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday specifically.

“With travel restrictions lifted and more people comfortable taking public transportation again, it’s no surprise buses, trains, and cruises are coming back in a big way,” Twidale said. “Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush.”

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