AAA: Expect a Busy Thanksgiving Travel Season in Florida

Expect a busy travel Thanksgiving travel season as almost 3 million Floridians will hit the road over the holiday and the Sunshine State is where four of the busiest ten travel destinations are.

AAA released a study last week showing more than 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, the second-busiest Thanksgiving holiday ever behind only 2005. That’s 1.6 million more Americans who hit the road for Thanksgiving last year.

“The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations. Wednesday afternoon is forecast to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros,” AAA noted.

“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to travel this Thanksgiving in near-record numbers,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman, for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increased wages, disposable income, and household wealth. It also helps that gas prices have remained low during the past month, as Floridians finalized their travel plans.”

Expect more traffic on the road as 49.3 million Americans–up 2.8 percent from last year–will drive for Thanksgiving. This includes 2.6 million Floridians, up 3 percent from 2018. Almost 4.5 million Americans–up 4.6 percent from last year–plan to fly for Thanksgiving. This includes almost 210,500 residents of the Sunshine State, up 4.3 percent from last year.

With more travelers on the road, expect major traffic–especially on the day before Thanksgiving.

“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, a transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon, drivers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”

“Florida drivers should expect the heaviest highway congestion on Wednesday, from 3 pm-8 pm,” said Jenkins. “AAA recommends drivers plan ahead, identify alternate routes in case there are back-ups, and leave early. Driving on Thanksgiving Day may not be ideal, but there are much fewer people on the road.”

In the meantime, expect more tourists to hit the Sunshine State over Thanksgiving. AAA lists Orlando as the top travel destination for the Thanksgiving holiday followed by Anaheim, New York, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Maui, Phoenix and Miami.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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