Fewer Americans will travel this Thanksgiving


PITTSBURGH — The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to push down the number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday this year by about 10%, according to AAA Travel. That’s the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008, which lead to a 26% drop in travel for the holiday.

The effects of the pandemic, including health and economic concerns, are causing many Americans to opt for last-minute and vehicular travel. Air travel and other modes of transportation such as cruises, buses and trains are the most impacted by the pandemic, and 95% of holiday travel is expected to be by car.

With COVID-19 cases rising in many parts of the country, AAA East Central reminds those who choose to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday to know the risks and minimize them by taking the following steps:

Plan ahead

Check with state and local authorities where you are, along your route and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and restrictions.

Pack Smart

Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers.

Minimize your risk

Use protective barriers such as plastic baggies or gloves to open doors, fill up the gas tank or touch any other surfaces in public places. Also, try to minimize your stops, and when visiting family or friends, remember to socially distance, wear masks and frequently wash your hands.


Verify before you go. Call your hotels and car rental companies to ensure your reservations and clarify requirements.


Visit AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map for the latest state and local travel restrictions. Use triptik.aaa.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, hotels and restaurants you’ll use along your route.


Before heading out, motorists should ensure their vehicles are road trip-ready to avoid a breakdown along the way. AAA expects to rescue more than 413,000 Americans at the roadside this Thanksgiving. Motorists should take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip.

Traffic volume is expected to be less than in years’ past, but travelers in major urban areas will experience increased delays at popular bottlenecks, up to 30% above normal pandemic congestion levels. INRIX expects Wednesday afternoon to see the highest volume of traffic.


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