Tuesday, 23 November 2021 18:30

Buckle Up: Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Written by Ellen Edmonds, AAA


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Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020.

This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year.


As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this holiday season.


“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”


With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving, coupled with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers, people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.


“International travel re-opening will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while also giving a much-needed boost to the economy,” said Twidale. “But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers must plan for long lines and extra time for TSA checks.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its recommendations for holiday gatherings and related travel, saying the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. However, everyone’s situation is unique and therefore AAA urges anyone considering gathering or traveling for Thanksgiving to consult CDC guidance before finalizing holiday plans.


Navigating the New Travel Landscape


This year’s forecast marks the highest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travelers since 2005, bringing travel volumes close to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.


Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90% of people plan to...

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