Making plans to travel this Thanksgiving holiday? Well, you’re not going to be alone. In fact, AAA is projecting that this Thanksgiving season will see the highest spike in travel across the nation’s highways since 2007.
AAA projects 46.3 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving weekend, which marks a 4.7% increase from 2013. Much of the boost in travelers is likely due to a historic drop in gas prices, the organization says.
The national average for unleaded gasoline has fallen for 60 consecutive days heading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The drastic decrease will likely result in the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in five years. Low fuel costs has led to more than 89% of total Thanksgiving travelers to elect driving as their mode of transportation.
Meanwhile, Google released its Thanksgiving travel-related statistics just in time for the busy travel season. The company gathered data from its popular mapping software which studied traffic flow across 21 major U.S. cities.
Google found that most cities experience the worst traffic conditions on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. In contrast, Thanksgiving Day provides for the lightest traffic conditions, with the hours between 12-2 p.m. providing for the lightest travel periods. Google also reports that conditions for a return trip are ideal on Sunday, not Saturday. Traffic patterns show the return rush to be as much as 40 percent worse on Saturday.
Here is a look at Google’s Thanksgiving Travel Tips based on data gathered from its popular mapping software over the last two years:
Thanksgiving Travel Tips:
- Avoid traveling on Wednesday
- If you must travel on Wednesday, avoid the rush between 3-5 p.m. Instead, hit the road before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. for optimal traffic conditions
- Thanksgiving Day is the easiest day to travel
- Travel back home on Sunday, not Saturday
- Expect to find more traffic in these cities: Philadelphia, Austin and Washington D.C.