AAA: Approximately 1.4 Million New Jerseyans to Travel for Thanksgiving
Up 5.2% from Thanksgiving 2017 and the largest number of travelers since 2005
Hamilton, NJ, November 14, 2018 –– AAA projects that almost 1.4 million New Jerseyans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up 5.2 percent from those who traveled for Thanksgiving 2017 and the largest projected number of travelers in more than a dozen years (2005). Nationwide, 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, an increase of 2.5 million travelers and up 4.8 percent over 2017. The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.
“Across the country, and in New Jersey, Thanksgiving weekend 2018 is expected to be the busiest for the holiday since 2005,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AA Mid-Atlantic. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes, driving up the confidence in consumers who are more willing to spend on travel this year.”
Volume for all modes of travel for the Thanksgiving weekend is anticipated to increase for 2018 with air travel anticipated to experience the biggest percentage growth, up 5.4 percent nationally and 5.8 percent in New Jersey, compared to the 2017 holiday.
“With more money in their pockets, consumers are willing to spend on air travel this year, which tends to be the more expensive mode of travel,” commented Noble. “Given the strong uptick in air travel projections, air passengers should plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours early in order to make their flights, as airports are expected to be exceptionally busy.”
- New Jersey—1,209,555 (89% of all travelers), an increase of 5.3% from 2017.
- Nationally— 45.5 million people (89% of holiday travelers), up 4.9% from last year.
- New Jersey— 119,583 (9% of all travelers), an increase of 5.8% from those who flew last year.
- Nationally—4.3 million leisure travelers (8% of holiday travelers), up 4.9% from 2017.
Train, Bus, Watercraft or Multi-Modal Travel:
- New Jersey— 29,562 (2.2% of all travelers), an increase of 0.8% from last year.
- Nationally— 1.5 million travelers (3% of all travelers), up 1.4% from 2017.
Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic
Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday. Drivers in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco will see the largest delays – nearly quadruple normal drive times.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” Noble said. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.
Higher Gas Prices Not Keeping Holiday Travelers Home
Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, even with the recent decline in prices at the pump. Today’s New Jersey average is $2.68 per gallon, up nine cents compared to one year ago.
New Jersey Thanksgiving gas prices:
- 2017 - $2.56
- 2016 - $2.21
- 2015 - $1.96
- 2014 - $2.71
- 2013 - $3.27
AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. Based on last year’s figures, AAA Mid-Atlantic anticipates coming to the aid of approximately 25,000 disabled motorists in the club’s five-state and Washington D. C. region, with over 6,000 of those breakdowns in New Jersey. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
About the travel forecast:
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.