Thanksgiving travel by the numbers

Thanksgiving travel
Mark Prado

Expect crowded airports, heavy roadway traffic and busy buses as millions of Americans make their way to turkey, pumpkin pie and long, uncomfortable chats with relatives they see but once a year during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

AAA is projecting more than 55 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. 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. AAA warns the worst traffic in the Bay Area during the holiday period is expected between 2 and 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

By the numbers: 2019 Thanksgiving travel forecast

  • Automobiles: 49.3 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.
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