AAA: More than 1.3 million New Jerseyans expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, most in 13 years

Posted: December 31st, 1969

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., November 14, 2018 — AAA forecasts more than 54 million Americans, including more than 1.3 million in New Jersey, will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday, a 4.8 percent increase from the nearly 51 million that traveled in 2017. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005, when 58.6 million people traveled. The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

“There’s a lot to be thankful for this holiday season – higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., Manager of Media Relations for AAA Northeast. “Because of this, more travelers are kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”

TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS

Automobile

Driving remains the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving, both in New Jersey and nationally:

·         New Jersey – 1,209,555 (89% of all travelers), a 5.3% increase from 2017.

·         Nationally – 48.5 million (89.4% of all travelers), a 4.9% increase from last Thanksgiving.

Air

·         New Jersey – 119,583 (8.8% of all travelers), a 5.8% increase from last year.

·         Nationally – 4.27 million (7.9% of all travelers), a 5.4% increase from one year ago.

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode

·         New Jersey – 29,562 (2.2% of all travelers), a 0.8% increase from last year.

·         Nationally – 1.475 million (2.7% of all travelers), a 1.4% increase from Thanksgiving 2017.

Gas Prices Not Keeping Holiday Travelers Home

Even with gas prices dropping, AAA expects most U.S. drivers to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years; the current national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.67, 11 cents more than a year ago ($2.56).

In New Jersey, drivers are paying an average of $2.67, eight cents higher than November 14, 2017 ($2.59).

Average gas prices in NJ over Thanksgiving weekend for the past five years:

2017: $2.55

2016: $2.21

2015: $1.95

2014: $2.70

2013: $3.26

Drivers Beware: Thanksgiving’s Terrible Traffic

Based on historical and recent travel trends, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute period, with travel times starting to increase on Monday.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”

In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

AAA to Rescue Nearly 360,000 Motorists

AAA expects to rescue nearly 360,000 motorists at the roadside this Thanksgiving, with dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

About INRIX:

INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics. Leveraging big data and the cloud, INRIX delivers comprehensive services and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small. Learn more at INRIX.com.

About the 2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast:

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.