This is shaping up to be a record year, and the travel forecast for Thanksgiving 2016 is showing higher numbers than in the past nine years. AAA forecasts that there will be 48.7 million people in transit this year, an increase of one million compared to last year.
Your 2016 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
Tomorrow kicks off the start of the Thanksgiving travel period, which is defined as Wednesday, November 23, to Sunday, November 27. Thanks to lower gas prices and cheaper fares, this will be the busiest Thanksgiving travel period since 2007.
Close to 90 percent of travelers will be doing so via car, so keep this in mind if you’re hitting the road this year. Thanksgiving fliers will be among 3.7 million people, or 7.6 percent of this year’s travelers. A forecast by Airlines for America estimates that about 27.3 million passengers will be flying from November 18 to 29, up from 26.6 million in 2015.
Airlines for America also lists Wednesday, November 23, Sunday, November 27, and Monday, November 28 as the three busiest days for travel.
Last-Minute Travel Tips for Thanksgiving Fliers
- Avoid checking a bag if possible.
- Consider upgrading for extra space or a higher class for expedited service.
- Change your seat to be closer to the front of the plane for later boarding and earlier deplaning.
- Consider buying a day pass for your airline’s lounge to avoid crowds and lines in the terminal.
- Keep phone numbers handy for airlines, hotel, and travel agents in case of delays.
- Look into purchasing travel insurance.
- Keep all your devices charged and have a backup charger on hand in case of delays.
Last-Minute Travel Tips for Thanksgiving Drivers
- Make sure your car maintenance is up to date.
- Have a full tank of gas before you hit the road.
- Make sure you have some form of roadside assistance, like AAA.
- Have an emergency kit in your car in case of an accident or car failure.
- Have an extra car battery, car phone chargers, snacks, spare tire, and jumper cables in your car.
- Be prepared for weather delays and traffic.
After all is said and done, relax. Everyone’s time is precious, so be patient with your fellow travelers and especially air and hotel employees who are just trying to do their job. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
More from SmarterTravel:
- How to Survive Thanksgiving’s Busiest Travel Days
- The Best Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving Overseas
- 10 Worst Airports for Thanksgiving Flights, Ranked