If you’re planning on traveling for Thanksgiving next week, expect delays and make sure to allow for extra time.
According to the American Automobile Association, more Americans are expected to travel this year than in the recent past, especially on the road: 45.5 million people are expected to be driving between Wednesday November 22 and Saturday November 26.
Thinking about leaving early to skip the traffic? You’re not alone. In fact, the AAA and INRIX, a transportation analytics company expect Tuesday afternoon between 5 PM to 6 PM to have the worst traffic over the whole weekend, as travelers will join forces with evening commuters to clog the roadways.
Here is the predictions from the INRIX press release:
- Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
- Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
- Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at five percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
- Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
- Fueling up: Drivers will pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2014.
- Holiday high: Car rental daily rates will hit a five-year holiday high at $70/day, which may be due to an increase in domestic demand and cost of newer vehicles.
A total of 51 million people will be traveling more than fifty miles to get to their destinations this Thanksgiving. In Chicago, I-90W at I-190 (Kennedy at O’Hare airport) is expected to be the epicenter of your travel frustrations.
And once you’re out of Chicago, things don’t necessarily get better from there. If your destination is tropical, prepare for long wait times to get out of an airport. Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, and Fort Lauderdale are going to be the busiest airports for travelers planning on renting a car.
One of the best things you can do is not only be prepared on time but for emergencies as well. AAA expects to help 330,000 stranded motorists with issues such as flat tires, getting locked out, or battery-related issues.
When traveling, it’s always a good idea to consider alternative modes of transportation. If you’re flying for the holidays, take to the El to get to O’Hare (Blue Line) or Midway (Orange Line). While delays and the unexpected can happen with trains, they are usually easier to predict how long it will take to get somewhere as traffic isn’t an issue.
Remember that everyone else on the road is also trying to get to their families safely so keep that road rage at bay. Prepare any kind of stress-relievers you can think of and that getting to your destination safely is more important than getting their quickly.