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Turkey Day Travel Statistics

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Thanksgiving marks the start of one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Make sure you are prepared by planning ahead and knowing the facts.

  • AAA projected 43.4 million Americans would travel at least 50 miles to reach their Thanksgiving destination in 2013
  • It is projected that 24.6 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines during the 12 day Thanksgiving travel period this year
  • The heaviest travel days in order will be Sunday (Nov 30), Monday (Dec 1) and Wednesday (Nov 26)
  • The lightest travel day will be Thanksgiving Day (Nov 27)
  • The busiest airports in terms of passenger volume will be Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, Los Angeles LAX, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth and New York JFK
  • 66% of Americans plan to drive to their Thanksgiving destination this year, either in their own car or a rented car
  • 62% of travelers say that their main reason for renting a car is to avoid wear and tear on their own vehicle

Quick tips for Thanksgiving travel

If you are flying

  • Get to the airport early – Airports are more crowded this time of year so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get through check-in, the security line and to your gate
  • Check in online 24 hours in advance to make sure you have a seat assigned in case of a full flight
  • It’s fine to download your boarding pass on your phone but also bring a printed copy in case your phone dies

If you are driving

  • Make sure you have plenty of gas at all times in case of a traffic delay
  • Plan alternative routes just in case any issues arise
  • Stay up to date on the weather conditions along your route
  • Bring your own snacks and water to avoid unnecessary stops
  • Fuel up on Thanksgiving day – historically gas prices have been cheaper
  • Buckle up and stay alert! The average number of accidents skyrockets during the Thanksgiving travel period

Other helpful articles

Sources: 1, 2, 3


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