Worst times to travel by road, air for Thanksgiving

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Thanksgiving travel will rebound this year according to AAA’s forecast.

The Auto Club Group predicted 53.4 million people will travel in one form or another.

2020 saw a slowdown as a result of the pandemic with 47.1 million people traveling. While AAA expected this year’s numbers to increase, it still believed those numbers will be behind 2019’s of 56 million.

AAA expected 1.5 million North Carolinians to travel, an increase from the 1.3 million who traveled in 2020.

With busier roads and airports, picking the right time to hit the road or skies will be key.

Using data from INRIX, AAA listed the following as the best and worst times to travel.

DayWorst TimeBest Time
Wednesday12:00 – 8:00PMAfter 9:00PM
Thursday12:00 – 3:00PMBefore 11:00AM
Friday1:00 – 4:00PMBefore 11:00AM
Saturday2:00 – 7:00PMBefore 12:00PM
Sunday1:00 – 7:00PMBefore 12:00PM

If you plan to travel by road, AAA said car rentals would be four percent higher this year than last. Driving your own car will cost more too.

Gas prices currently sit at an average of about $3.24 a gallon in North Carolina. It’s expected to remain about the same for the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year, the average cost per gallon was below $2.

Airfare could cost you a little less. AAA said the average lowest airfare is 27.3 percent lower than last year. At this point, buying

If you’re not staying with friends or family, AAA said a mid-range hotel could cost you more. They said those have increased by about 39 percent this year.

In a statement, AAA spokesperson, Tiffany Wright, said, “Unfortunately, it appears these high gas prices will hang around through the holidays. So it’s likely that travelers will budget more for gasoline and less on things like shopping, lodging and dining out.”

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