This holiday season is expected to be the busiest on record at airports, AAA says
The 10-day Christmas and New Year’s travel period is likely to be the busiest ever at US airports, according to AAA’s year-end holiday forecast. Find out the very worst days to travel.
Travelers waiting in a security line at Denver International Airport on November 21 are captured in this long-exposure photo. (Thomas Peipert/AP)
(CNN) — Prepare to wait in line, air travelers: The 10-day Christmas and New Year’s travel period is likely to be the busiest ever at US airports, according to AAA’s year-end holiday forecast.
AAA is expecting 7.5 million air travelers, topping the previous record in 2019 of 7.3 million, according to the forecast released on Monday. Average airfare prices are slightly lower than last year, AAA said.
Overall, 115 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday season, making it the second-busiest since 2000, when AAA began tracking holiday travel. The busiest year ever was 2019, which was before the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted travel worldwide.
AAA’s forecast looks at the period from Saturday, December 23 to Monday, January 1.
AccuWeather spoke with Clint Henderson, managing editor for The Points Guy, who shares advice on planning your holiday travel in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Holiday road warriors
Most travelers will drive to their destinations, with nearly 104 million people expected to hit the roads. The estimated number of drivers is the second highest on record, after 2019.
For travelers who can wait to hit the road, minimal traffic is expected on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; likewise for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Traveling before noon or after 7 p.m. is the best bet on busier days over the holiday period, according to INRIX, a transportation data provider.
INRIX expects the most congested days on the roads to be Saturday, December 23, and Thursday, December 28.
More than 4 million Americans are expected to travel by alternative modes such as bus, train and cruise ship – a figure that tops the 3.89 million who did so in 2019.
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