AAA predicts busy Thanksgiving travel

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 4:46 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As always, pack your patience. AAA Texas is predicting a busy Thanksgiving holiday for travelers.

“We’re looking at a little bit of an increase over last year, about 2%. That will be the third busiest Thanksgiving travel period on record nationally since 2001 when AAA began forecasting Thanksgiving travel. Certainly a very busy Thanksgiving in store, whether you’re on the roads or in the skies,” Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas Media Relations, said.

With this in mind, plan when you leave for and return from your trip accordingly.

“The worst days to travel on the road are going to be Wednesday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Both of those time periods, especially Wednesday afternoon, you could see some congestion levels in in certain metros up to 80% higher than normal,” Armbruster said.

Cheaper prices might be to blame for the Turkey Day traffic this year.

“Gas prices are a little bit cheaper. They’re down about $0.30 compared to a year ago, which adds up in savings. Hotels are a little less expensive this year compared to last year. Rental cars are a little bit cheaper as well as the average cost of cruises and tours,” Armbruster explained.

Have your vehicle maintenanced before you hit the road.

“You want to make sure your car is ready to go, meaning you have made sure that all the maintenance is up to date, your tires are in good shape, your battery is in good shape. We’re going to see 20,000 roadside calls here in Texas just between Wednesday and Sunday on Thanksgiving week. The top reasons for that are dead batteries, flat tires, and engine problems,” Armbruster said.

In case of emergency, AAA will provide roadside assistance, but Armbruster says it’s better to take preventative measures ahead of time.

“Make sure that you have a roadside emergency kit that includes a charged cell phone, non perishable food items as well as drinking water for you, your passenger, and the pets. You need to have jumper cables, just in case your battery needs a jump. If you’re going to a colder weather environment, you want to make sure you’re prepared for that with extra blankets, coats, and gloves,” Armbruster said. “Making sure you’re prepared for that emergency is key to making your holiday a safe experience.”

Also be sure to download the KBTX Pinpoint Weather App to stay up to date on any undesirable weather you may encounter traveling to and from your destination.