The Thanksgiving travel prediction indicates that more than 55 million Americans, 7 million Californians, and 4.3 million Southern Californians are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

This will be the highest Thanksgiving travel volume on record for California travel and the second-highest travel volume nationally since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.

“This is the fourth Thanksgiving holiday period in a row that the percentage growth in air travel for Californians is higher than the growth in car travel, indicating continued consumer confidence in spending more for holiday trips,” Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring said in a news release. “That’s despite an average 7% increase in airfares over last year. Because of the increased number of travelers and the Thanksgiving holiday traffic, we strongly urge air travelers to allow both extra time to get to the airport and plenty of extra time to get through security.”

Nationwide, Anaheim is expected to be the second most popular destination for Thanksgiving travel, behind Orlando. Rounding out the top five destinations are New York City, Las Vegas and Honolulu.

The top five Thanksgiving travel destinations for Southern California residents, according to a poll of Auto Club travel agents, are:

  • Las Vegas
  • San Diego
  • Mexico (cruises and resorts)
  • Grand Canyon
  • Lake Tahoe

The top air destination for Southern Californians is Hawaii.

When NOT to be on the road: For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking during Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and evening with trips taking as much as five times longer because of commuter traffic mixing with travelers.

“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”


Image Sources

  • Beach in Hawaii: Image by Bettina Nørgaard from Pixabay