(WHNT) — With Thanksgiving just days away, families are still getting ready to brave the skies and roadways to travel for family gatherings — and while you may think high gas prices could turn people away from traveling, one local travel agency says you may be surprised.
“53.4 million people [will be] traveling a distance of 50 miles or more this year for Thanksgiving,” said Clay Ingram, public relations manager for AAA.
Ingram says more people will be hitting the road this year than last. In total, driving traffic is expected to increase 13 percent from 2020.
“It’s going to feel like a Thanksgiving holiday weekend out there traffic-wise, wherever you’re headed,” Ingram continued. “Wherever you’re headed, if you’re going to visit friends or family or the Auburn/Alabama football game, whatever it might be, it’s going to be really busy out there.”
However, it’s not an increase overall, with travel down five percent since 2019. Ingram says this drop could still be the result of people’s hesitancy to travel during the weekend.
According to Gas Buddy, the national gas price average is set to decline to $3.35 a gallon on Thanksgiving Day, which is still one of the highest gas prices seen on the holiday in over seven years.
AAA says gas prices aren’t a make or break when it comes to travel.
“Usually gas prices don’t affect travel much at all especially around the holidays like this,” Ingram continued. “You know this year, the reason we’re seeing a decrease travel down compared to 2019, is simply closed.”
Ingram says it’s still wise to have a travel plan, shop around for gas beforehand and factor in traffic.
“Typically, the busiest travel days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, so any of the days other than those days are usually pretty good days to travel,” Ingram concluded.
If you can, Ingram suggests heading out on the Tuesday before and coming back the Monday after.