TOWSON, MD (Thursday, November 21, 2019) –– T is not just for turkey this Thanksgiving, it’s also for travel, in a very big way. Nearly 1.15 million Marylanders are expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend, a 2.2% increase over 2018, according to AAA. Nationwide, more than 55 million Americans are expected to journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 2.9% increase over 2018. Nationally, and in Maryland, this will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.
The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros.
“This Thanksgiving we will see the most Americans carving time out to visit family and friends since 2005,” said Ragina C. Ali, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “A strong economy and labor market are generating higher wages and more disposable income, enabling more confident consumers to spend on travel this holiday season.The increase in the number of travelers from Maryland taking to the roads, air and other modes of transport, mirrors the national trend.”
2019 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travel
Lower Gas Prices Fuel Road Trips
For the majority of Americans, AAA expects gas prices to be fairly similar to last year's Thanksgiving holiday. As of Wednesday, the national average price for gasoline was $2.59 per gallon, two cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.57). Maryland’s average was $2.47, three cents higher than last year’s holiday average of $2.44 per gallon.
“While Maryland gas prices are similar to last year’s, as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, travelers appear to be committed to making the journey and sharing the holiday with loved ones,” said Ali.
AAA suggests motorists travel during off-peak times – early morning and/or later in the evening. Avoid afternoon and early evening travel the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; same for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Distracted Driving – “Don’t Drive Intexticated”
As near-record numbers of holiday travelers hit the road in the coming days, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges motorists – “Don’t Drive Intexticated.” Launched in April of this year, AAA’s ‘Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated’ campaign is even more important during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.“With more motorists on the roadways and maneuvering crowded parking lots, it is critical to remove all distractions from behind the wheel, especially mobile phones,” said Ali.The campaign targets drivers who would never consider getting behind the wheel after drinking an alcoholic beverage and, yet, will use a mobile device while driving, dangerously taking their eyes and minds off the road. Motorists can pledge to not drive distracted at aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
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Travel Tip For The Friendly Skies: Fly Monday Before Thanksgiving
A recent analysis of AAA’s flight booking data from the last three years revealed that flying the Monday before the Thanksgiving travel rush is the best option for travelers. It has the lowest average ticket price ($486) prior to the holiday and is a lighter travel day than later in the week. Travelers can also save by traveling on Thanksgiving Day, which has the week’s lowest average price per ticket ($454).
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 1.
In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 60 million members nationwide and nearly 988,000 members in Maryland. 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 AAA.com.
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On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.
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