AAA predicts 1 million Virginians will travel for Thanksgiving

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – More Virginians are spending their Thanksgiving holiday away from home this year.

AAA Tidewater predicts over 1.4 million people across the Commonwealth will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving.

That’s a 3.2 percent increase over last year.

In fact, 2017 will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2007.

“This Thanksgiving weekend more Virginians will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is from Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

With more people traveling by car, air, bus, and train, AAA urges people to expect delays and beware of traffic hotspots.

The agency said based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, they expects drivers to experience the greatest congestion during the late afternoon drive time, between 3:00 to 6:30 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week.

This is due to daily commuters mixing with holiday travelers heading out.

The best time to travel tends to be mid-day between morning and evening commuter drive times.

Regardless of how you travel, AAA urges you “pack your patience”.

“The idea is that you will probably have some delays. Just expect that and that way you are prepared for it and you don’t get stressed on the road. The best practice would be to check ahead. Check the traffic and determine what’s going on beforehand that way you can do your best to try and hit the right direction,” Blumling explained.

Though gas prices are high this Thanksgiving, the highest since 2014, most people are still planning to hit the roadways this season.

Virginia’s 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast Highlights

Road trip ready: 90.5 percent of all travelers are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel will be air travel with a 4.5 percent increase expected.
Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) are expected to increase slightly by 0.5 percent.
Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest gas prices over the Thanksgiving holiday since 2014.