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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: Nearly 650,000 Philadelphia-Area Residents to Travel for Thanksgiving; Highest Travel Volume for the Holiday Since 2005

Nationally, more than 54 million to travel – 10th consecutive year for Thanksgiving travel volume growth.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 14, 2018) – T is not just for turkey this Thanksgiving, it’s also for travel, in a very big way. AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates nearly 650,000 Philadelphia-area residents will travel 50 miles or more away from home for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a five percent increase over 2017 and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005.  The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 25.

“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 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 the Philadelphia area taking to the roads, air and other modes of transport, mirrors the national trend.”

Nationally, AAA projects 54.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 2.5 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 four times longer than the optimal trip.


2018 Projected Thanksgiving Holiday Travelers

Philadelphia (5-county) Area 




Total Population


2018 Travelers


Percent of population traveling


Percent change vs. 2017



(5-county) TOTAL - auto, air & other











(5-county) Auto


89% of people travel by car









(5-county) Air


9% of people travel by air



















Auto, Air & Other














89% of people travel by car











9% of people travel by air


















National TOTAL


328.6 million*


54.3 million






National Auto



89% of people travel by car


48.5 million






National Air



8% of people travel by air


4.3 million






*U.S. Census Bureau/IHS Global Insight (v2017)

Philadelphia-Area Thanksgiving Travel 2018

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of Philly travelers – 572,578 – will hit the road for the holiday, a 5.1 percent increase over last year.
  • Fueling up: The Philadelphia 5-county area gas price average is $2.84 (Tues.), nine cents higher than Thanksgiving Day 2017 ($2.75/gallon).
  • Fuller skies: More than 57,000 Philly travelers will take to the skies for Thanksgiving, an increase of 5.6 percent compared to 2017.

National Thanksgiving Travel 2018

  • Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 48.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 4.9 percent over last year.
  • Fueling up: Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a national average at $2.69 (Tues.), 13 cents higher than one year ago.
  • Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers.
  • Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.4 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 commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday of Thanksgiving week, as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

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 increase five percent this year, with an average round trip ticket landing at $165.

  • Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63/day, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than 2017.
  • AAA Three Diamond Rated hotel rates have decreased six percent this year to an average nightly rate of $166.  Conversely, the average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has increased five percent to an average nightly rate of $124.

Lockouts, flat tires to strand 360,000 U.S. motorists this Thanksgiving

  • AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
  • Last Thanksgiving (Nov. 22 – 26), AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued more than 5,500 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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