AAA: Thanksgiving travel in Florida to exceed pre-pandemic levels

Author: CBS Miami Staff
AAA Thanksgiving travel forecast 2022. AAA

Thanksgiving travel in Florida is forecast to be the busiest in nearly two decades, since 2005.

AAA forecasts more than 2.9 million Floridians will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. That’s 50,000 (2%) more Florida travelers than last year’s holiday and nearly 22,000 (0.74%) more than in 2019.

Nationally, 54.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home, slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

“Travel is still roaring back from the pandemic,” said AAA Vice President of Travel Debbie Haas. “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays.”

Despite higher gas prices, 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers will drive. AAA forecasts 48.65 million Americans will set out for a holiday road trip. That’s 203,000 more drivers than last year.

In Florida, 2.7 million, or 91% of travelers, will take a road trip; that’s an increase of 28,000 people from last year’s holiday.

Pump prices are trending higher this month and could set new record highs for the holiday. In Florida, the highest daily average price for Thanksgiving was set back in 2013, at $3.46 per gallon. On Monday, drivers paid an average price of $3.55 per gallon.

“Higher gas prices don’t seem to be enough to stop people from traveling to be with family and friends,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “We’ve found that when gas prices are high, travelers look to offset the added cost by staying in a less expensive hotel or spending less on shopping and dining out.”

If you are hitting the road for the holidays, leave early. Travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion Monday-Wednesday afternoon and early evening. Traffic will be lighter during the morning and late evening hours and on Thanksgiving Day.

In addition to congestion on the roads, Thanksgiving travelers will likely find long lines at the airport, too. Nationwide, air travel is up nearly 8% from last year, with 4.5 million Americans flying to their Thanksgiving destinations this year.

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