Nov 19, 2023

AAA: Third busiest Thanksgiving travel season in 20 years

Posted Nov 19, 2023 10:45 AM

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — AAA says 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period from the five-day period from Wednesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 26.

"That's an increase of 2.3% over last year," said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. "The number of people driving will also be up slightly with a 1.7% increase to 49.1 million Americans driving to their destinations."

This year’s Thanksgiving the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000. The top two years were 2005 and 2019, respectively. 

"People will also be flying," Steward said. "4.7 million people will fly over the Thanksgiving holiday. That's up 6.6% compared to last year."

That's the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005. Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving are the busiest air travel days ahead of the holiday and the most expensive.

"All methods of transportation are up, especially domestic travel," Steward said. "The average cost of flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises are all down here in the U.S. this holiday season."

Drivers in this part of the country will likely be paying less for gas than last Thanksgiving, as well, when the national average was $3.58. This year, the national average peaked in mid-August at $3.87 and has been coming down since, despite global tensions causing ripples through the oil market. The Kansas gas price average is $3.03 a gallon as of Saturday, Nov. 18. 

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