Holiday Travel Season Officially Begins

holiday travel
Person in airport | Image by Kaspars Grinvalds

On Friday, the holiday travel season will officially begin, and this year, an estimated four million Texans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving.

A forecasted 55.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the Thanksgiving break, which is the third-highest figure estimated since AAA started tracking holiday travel in 2000. AAA states that the years with the highest number of travelers were 2005 and 2019.

Some 88.7% of travelers over Thanksgiving will get to their destination via automobile, according to the AAA 2023 travel forecast. It is expected that the day before Thanksgiving, which is on November 22, will be the busiest day for road travel. According to AAA and INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, travel durations will increase up to 80% more than usual.

“The day before Thanksgiving is notoriously one of the most congested days on our roadways. Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, per AAA.

“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help minimize holiday traffic frustrations. We advise drivers to use traffic apps, local DOT notifications, and 511 services for real-time updates,” he added.

There is expected to be less congestion in the days leading up to Thanksgiving due to a larger number of travelers spacing out their trips, per CBS News Texas. This suggests that travelers are being more mindful of their travel plans in order to avoid the anticipated pre-holiday rush.

If you plan to travel on November 22, INRIX recommends leaving before or after 6 p.m. to avoid the heaviest traffic, as reported by AAA, with the worst time to travel being between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 23, the best time to travel on the roadways is estimated to be before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m., with the worst times predicted to be between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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