Nothing worse than Wednesday: 2019 Thanksgiving travel forecast

Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0/John Murphy / CC BY-SA 2.0
By  | 

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The holiday season kicks off Nov. 28 with Thanksgiving, and more than 55 million travelers are expected to pack up and travel to their "turkey day" destinations.

One company is predicting Wednesday, Nov. 27. afternoon to be the worst travel time across the board. According to INRIX, which analyzes global transportation, some trips can take as much as four times longer than normal in major cities.

“Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week," said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA.

According to AAA, in Wisconsin more than 1.1 million people will be traveling for the holiday weekend, which is a 2.9 percent increase from 2018. More than one million will be driving to their destinations and 97,000 will be flying.

“Millions of thankful Americans are starting the holiday season off right with a Thanksgiving getaway,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”

AAA predicts 49.3 million people across the country will hit the road this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005. GasBuddy projects the national average gas price this Thanksgiving will be $2.56 per gallon, a penny higher than last year.

AAA also revealed 4.45 million Americans are expected to fly, and 1.49 million people will travel by other modes of transportation such as a train or bus.

If you are planning to fly, AAA suggests flying the Monday before Thanksgiving. Flight booking data from the past three years indicated Monday has the lowest ticket price and it is a lighter travel day in the week.

This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000. Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a nearly 3 percent increase.