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Jana Tidwell
Public Relations Manager, PA
O: (302) 299-4426
C: (302) 353-6563

Kathleen Zinszer
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312

Turkey Trot: Holiday Travel Volume to Break 12-Year Record, says AAA;

Locally, 600,000 Philadelphia-Area Residents to Travel for Thanksgiving


Nationally, nearly 51 million to travel – highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.


PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 16, 2017) – T is not just for turkey this Thanksgiving, it’s also for travel, in a very big way. AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates more than 600,000 Philadelphia-area residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a 3.5 percent increase over 2016.  The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.


“This Thanksgiving we will see the most Americans carving time out to visit family and friends since 2005,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.  The increase in the number of travelers from the Philadelphia area taking to the roads, air and other modes of transport, mirrors the national trend.”


Nationally, AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.


2017 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers

Philadelphia (5-county) Area





Total Population


2017 Travelers


Percent of population traveling


Percent change vs. 2016



(5-county) TOTAL











(5-county) Auto


88.4% of people travel by car









(5-county) Air


8.8% of people travel by air



















Auto, Air & Other














88.4% of people travel by car











8.8% of people travel by air


















National TOTAL


325.4 million*


50.9 million






National Auto



89.3% of people travel by car


45.5 million






National Air



7.8% of people travel by air


3.95 million






*U.S. Census Bureau/IHS Global Insight


Philadelphia-Area Thanksgiving Travel 2017

  • Road trip ready: 88.4 percent of Philly travelers – 530,000 – will hit the road for the holiday, a 3.4 percent increase over last year.

  • Fueling up: The Philadelphia 5-county area gas price average is $2.77 (Wednesday), 44 cents higher than Thanksgiving Day 2016 ($2.33/gallon).

  • Fuller skies: More than 53,000 Philly travelers will take to the skies for Thanksgiving, an increase of 5.3 percent compared to 2016.


National Thanksgiving Travel 2017

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
  • Fueling up: Even though motorists will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014, the vast majority of holiday travelers (89.3 percent) are still planning to hit the road.
  • Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5 percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.


Holiday Traffic Hotspots/Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road

Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week - as commuters mix with holiday travelers.


“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”


Locally, the top ten traffic hotspots for Thanksgiving travel in and around the Philadelphia Metro area will be:

  1. I-295 S @ I-76/Exit 26 (Camden County, NJ)

  2. I-76 E @ Belmont Avenue/Exit 338 (Montgomery County)

  3. I-76 W @ PA-320.Gulph Road/Exit 330 (Montgomery County)

  4. I-76 W @ Montgomery Drive/Exit 341 (Philadelphia County)

  5. I-95 S @ US-322/Exit 2/Exit3 (Delaware County)

  6. I-476 N @ US-1/Exit 5 (Delaware County)

  7. PA-309 S @ Stump Road (Montgomery County)

  8. US-202 N @ US-1/Baltimore Pike (Delaware County)

  9. I-95 N @ Aramingo Avenue/Richmond Street (Philadelphia County)

  10. I-476 S @ I-95 (Delaware County)


Highs and Lows: Car rentals, airfare and hotel rates (AAA’s Leisure Travel Index)

  • Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 23 percent cheaper this year, with an average round trip ticket lading at $157.

  • Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day – 34 percent higher than 2016 and the highest rate since 2013 – due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.
  • AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel rates have increased 14 percent this year to an average nightly rate of $176.  Conversely, the average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has decreased 5 percent to an average nightly rate of $117.


Lockouts, flat tires to strand 330,000 U.S. motorists this Thanksgiving

  • AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.

  • Last Thanksgiving (Nov. 23 – 27), AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued more than 23,700 motorists throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including more than 5,000 in the Philadelphia area.


Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway

Before setting out for the long Thanksgiving weekend, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at



Follow us on Twitter: @AAAPhillyNews

Mailing Address:
7777 Brewster Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19159

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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