AAA – The Auto Club Group, the second-largest AAA club in North America, says Thanksgiving trips in Georgia are expected to be one of the busiest since 2005.
AAA forecasts more than 1.6 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more for the upcoming vacation. That mark would be an increase of 26,000 travelers (or a 2% increase) over last year’s Thanksgiving total.
Of the 1.6 million travelers, 1.5 million Georgians are expected to travel. That would be 14,000 more people in the same period than in the previous year.
This projected surge in holiday drivers comes amid sky-high gas prices. AAA says it expects gas prices to hit second-highest on record in Georgia this Thanksgiving. The highest average daily gas volume in Georgia was in 2012 when it was $3.28 per gallon.
Despite the expected high gas prices, AAA does not expect that this will prevent Georgians from spending time with their loved ones this Thanksgiving.
“Higher gas prices don’t seem to be enough to discourage people from traveling with family and friends,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’ve found that when gas prices are high, travelers try to offset the additional costs by spending less on a hotel, shopping or dining.”
When it comes to road travel, AAA recommends Georgians depart as early in the day as possible. This is to avoid potentially heavier traffic jams than normal, which are common during the holidays.
In addition to driving, air traffic in Georgia is also expected to increase.
The number of Georgians who will fly this year is expected to rise to a total of 114,307. According to AAA, that would be an increase from last year’s total of 106,840 air trips.
This increase in Georgia air travel correlates with the rest of the US. Nationally, 4.5 million Americans are expected to fly for Thanksgiving, up 8% from 2021, according to AAA.
To prepare for the time of overly busy air travel, AAA recommends Georgians check in early, arrive at the airport two to three hours before scheduled departure, and pack medication and extra clothing in case of delayed or canceled flights.
AAA also provided tips for Georgians who have not yet booked their flights. The organizations suggest booking flights that depart early in the day, booking direct flights or ensuring optimal time between connecting flights, and traveling on Thanksgiving Day to find the best possible prices and flight availability.
Whether you’re arriving by car or plane, AAA says you must expect this Thanksgiving season to be its busiest in a long time and prepare accordingly.
“Travel is still recovering from the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel at AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, especially during the holiday season. Travel spending is at its highest level since the pandemic began, which is a driving force behind our forecasts this year. AAA anticipates busy roads and long airport lines, so leave early and be flexible with your travel plans.”