Thanksgiving travel to reach near pre-pandemic levels, AAA says

53M expected to travel for the November holiday

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Rick Bowmer, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Thanksgiving travel might look a lot like it did pre-pandemic.

AAA says more than 53 million people are expected to travel for the holiday, a 13% increase from last year and 5% below the 2019 level.

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More than 4 million people are expected to fly, an 80% increase from last year.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

But most holiday travelers will likely be on the roads.

AAA predicts 48 million people are driving this Thanksgiving.

2021 forecast53.4 mil48.3 mil4.2 mil1 mil
2020 actual47.1 mil44.5 mil2.3 mil281,000
2019 actual56 mil49.9 mil4.6 mil1.5 mil
Change YOY 2019 to 2021-5%-3%-9%-31%
Change YOY 2020 to 2021+13%+8%+80%+262%

Data from